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11/21/2017 – Ephemeris – The constellation of the fish has me looking for the fish

November 21, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, November 21st. The Sun will rise at 7:47. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 5:09. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 7:50 this evening.

High in the south at 8 or 9 p.m. are the four bright stars of the Great Square of Pegasus, the upside down flying horse. Lying along the left and bottom sides of that square is the constellation of Pisces the fish, one of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac that lie along the path of the sun, moon and planets. Even though the constellation is called the fish, the two fish themselves are not represented in the stars, at least that’s how I see it. What can be traced in the stars is the rope, that’s tied to their tails, anchored at the extreme southeastern part of the constellation. The right or western end of the Pisces is the asterism, or informal constellation, of the Circlet. It’s the loop of 5 stars, the rope around the tail of one of the two fish. The other end, without a loop, ends up under Andromeda.  Artists have always supplied the fish.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Pisces finder chart

Animated Pisces finder chart base at November 21, at 9 p.m. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

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11/20/2017 – Ephemeris – The Moon is near Saturn tonight and the approaching signs of winter

November 20, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, November 20th. The Sun will rise at 7:46. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 23 minutes, setting at 5:09. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 7:04 this evening.

Tonight the two day old Moon will appear near Saturn. The ringed planet will appear to the left and a bit below the thin crescent Moon before they set about an hour later. The approaching winter season and the resumption of standard time have dropped sunset to 5:09 in the Interlochen/Traverse City area. Our sunset will drop another 11 minutes before slowly recovering 19 days from now. Two to three hours later another sign of the approaching winter season will appear, as the constellation of the giant hunter Orion rises in the east. He is resplendent with his nearly vertical belt of three stars rising, framed to the left and right by the bright stars reddish Betelgeuse and bluish Rigel. He will dominate our evening skies until April.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Saturn and the Moon

The Moon and Saturn at 6 p.m. November 20, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Orion rising

Finder chart for the rising Orion at 9 p.m., November 30, 2017. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

11/17/2017 – Ephemeris – Capricornus the sea-goat

November 17, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, November 17th. The Sun will rise at 7:42. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 5:12. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:34 tomorrow morning.

This morning, if it’s clear the exceedingly thin crescent Moon will appear to the right of Venus at 7 a.m. or later with Jupiter above them. This evening, however we look to the constellation Capricornus the sea-goat and member of the Zodiac. 2000 years ago the southernmost of the constellations of the zodiac was Capricornus. That’s why the latitude on the earth where the Sun is overhead on the winter solstice is called the Tropic of Capricorn. Not any more, Sagittarius, one constellation west, has that honor today. Capricornus is large, but made up of dim stars. To me it looks like a 45 degree isosceles triangle, long side up, but which all the sides are sagging low in the southwest at 8 p.m. and tilted a bit from the upper left to the lower right The image that is supposed to be represented by the stars is that of a goat whose hind quarters are replaced by a fish’s tail.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Jupiter-Venus-Moon

Jupiter, Venus and the Moon at 7 a.m. November 17, 2017. Created using Stellarium. The Moon’s crescent is too thin to record, however the earth shine glow is and will be visible.

Capricornus

Animated Capricornus finder chart for 9 p.m. November 17, 2017. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

11/13/2017 – Ephemeris – Close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter is visible this morning

November 13, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, November 13th. The Sun will rise at 7:36. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 39 minutes, setting at 5:16. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:26 tomorrow morning.

This morning the planets Venus and Jupiter will appear a bit less than the moon apart after rising at 6:22 a.m. Venus is heading back to the Sun, actually around the back of the Sun. Jupiter is separating itself from the Sun. The velocity of a planet in its orbit decreases the farther from the Sun it is. This was discovered by Johannes Kepler back in he 17th century. Venus is closer to the Sun than the Earth, so after it passed the Earth back on March 25th passing between us and the Sun. It moved ahead of us reaching its greatest western separation from the Sun on June 3rd, is now heading around the bend, so to speak, behind the Sun, on January 9th. The Earth moves faster than Jupiter, so it is appearing to move away from the Sun.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Venus and Jupiter in conjunction

Venus and Jupiter in conjunction at 7 a.m. November 13, 2017. Venus will be 6 times brighter than Jupiter. They will appear half the width of the Moon apart. Created using Stellarium

11/12/2017 – Ephemeris Extra – Venus and Jupiter will appear together tomorrow morning

November 12, 2017 1 comment

Just a quick note.  I’ll talk about it in more detail tomorrow on the program, but this post will get you a full day heads up.  Venus and Jupiter have been approaching one another, at least from the Earth’s point of view for some time.  Monday morning their path’s will seem to cross, with Jupiter heading away from the Sun and Venus heading toward the Sun.

Venus and Jupiter in conjunction

Venus and Jupiter in conjunction at 7 a.m. November 13, 2017. Venus will be 6 times brighter than Jupiter. They will appear half the width of the Moon apart. Created using Stellarium.

These planets will rise at 6:22 a.m., a bit more than an hour before sunrise, at 7:36 a.m.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

11/10/2017 – Ephemeris – The North Taurid Meteors are reaching peak this weekend

November 10, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, November 10th. The Sun will rise at 7:32. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 5:19. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 12:07 tomorrow morning.

One of the little known meteor showers for most of us are the North and South Taurid meteor showers. The shower that will reach peak this weekend is the North Taurids. They may show only 5 an hour when their radiants are overhead, but they are reported to be very bright. The radiant, the place where the meteors will appear to come from is just south of the Pleiades, will be up just about all night. Saturday night the Moon will rise at 1:15 a.m. Sunday night it will rise at 2:21 a.m. Both Taurid meteor showers are thought to be related to Encke’s Comet, the periodic comet with a period of only 3.3 years, the shortest known. A posting on Space.com about this years shower talked about the possibility that one of these meteorites might reach the ground.

Space.com has an excellent article about the Taurid meteor showers:  https://www.space.com/34587-taurid-meteor-shower-guide.html

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Northern Taurid meteor radiant

Northern Taurid meteor radiant near the Pleiades in Taurus the bull. Note the face of Taurus, the letter V or stars and Aldebaran. The stars in the face without Aldebaran is a star cluster called the Hyades. Created using Stellarium.

11/07/2017 – Ephemeris Extra – G2 Geomagnetic Storm in progress

November 7, 2017 1 comment

There an enhanced chance for auroras (northern lights) tonight.
check out http://spaceweather.com/ or http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/.

Categories: Aurorae, Observing