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02/06/2018 – Ephemeris – Monoceros the Unicorn

February 6, 2018 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, February 6th. The Sun will rise at 7:55. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 2 minutes, setting at 5:58. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 1:09 tomorrow morning.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn. It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the southeastern sky at 9 p.m. bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left. Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of any but the faintest stars. Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore. It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it. To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula, and the strange and tiny Hubble’s Variable Nebula. It also contains beautiful telescopic triple star system, Beta (β) Monocerotis.

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

Addendum

Monoceros

Monoceros finder chart animation. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula in the infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

Hubble's Variable Nebula

Hubble’s Variable Nebula photographed appropriately enough by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI).

Monoceros DSO finder chart

Looking at some faint objects in Monoceros. NGC 2239 is the star cluster in the center of the Rosette Nebula. The nebula itself is extremely faint. It shows in photographs, but I’ve never seen it visually. The green circle shows Beta Monocerotis, the triple star. All these stars are extremely blue-white hot. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Also in the chart above is the semicircular Barnard’s Loop, a supernova remnant a great long exposure photography target.

 

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01/31/2018 – Ephemeris – Lunar Eclipse happening now* and the bright planets for this week

January 31, 2018 1 comment

* The Ephemeris radio program run at 6:19 a.m. and 7 a.m. EST will run during the lunar eclipse.

Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 31st. The Sun will rise at 8:02. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 5:50. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 6:15 this evening.

We have a lunar eclipse in progress this morning. Before the partial phase starts the Moon will have a dusky appearance because the Moon will be in the Earth’s outer penumbra shadow.  The partial phase starts at 6:48 a.m. (11:48 UT), when the upper left part of the Moon will enter the Earth’s inner shadow, called the umbra. The Moon will be fully immersed in the shadow beginning at 7:51 a.m. (12:51 UT). It will probably disappear by then because the Sun will rise just after 8 a.m. and the Moon will set, at least in the Interlochen/Traverse City area at, 8:04.

Venus is our evening planet, but too close to the Sun to spot. At 7 a.m. Jupiter and Mars below left of it are in the south while Saturn is low in the southeast. Tomorrow morning Jupiter will rise at 2:20 a.m., Mars will follow at 3:25. Last of all Saturn will rise at 5:50 a.m.

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

Addendum

Partial eclipsed Moon

The partially eclipsed Moon at 7:40 a.m. January 31, 2018 from Traverse City, MI as simulated by Stellarium.

For more on the eclipse see yesterday’s post:  https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/01-30-2018-ephemeris-looking-for-tomorrows-lunar-eclipse/.

On to the planets

Morning planets and the Eclipsed Moon

Morning planets and the partially eclipsed moon at 7 a.m. this morning, January 31, 2018. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and moons

Jupiter and its moons at 7 a.m. this morning January 31, 2018. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Saturn and moons

Saturn and its brighter moons at 7 a.m. this morning January 31, 2018. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on January 31, 2018. The night ends on the left with sunrise on February 1st. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

01/12/2018 – Ephemeris – A look at Gemini the very unusual twins

January 12, 2018 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, January 12th. The Sun will rise at 8:18. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 5:24. The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 5:16 tomorrow morning.

The constellation Gemini, the Twins is visible half way up the sky in the east at 9 p.m. The namesake stars of the two lads will be on the upper left edge of the constellation, nearly vertically aligned. Castor is above, while Pollux, a slightly brighter star is below it. Lines of stars from Castor and Pollux to the right delineate the lads. In Greek mythology Castor and Pollux were twins, and half brothers, Castor was fathered by a mere mortal, while Pollux was fathered by Zeus in the famous Leda and the swan affair. The brothers, however were inseparable, and when Castor was killed during the quest for the Golden Fleece, Pollux pleaded with Zeus to let him die also. Zeus granted his wish, so they both appear in the sky together forever.

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

Addendum

Gemini

Gemini as it should appear at 9 p.m., January 12, 2018. Created using Stellarium.

Gemini with Castor and Pollux

Gemini with Castor and Pollux. A closeup with a different way to link the stars with constellation art.  Created with Stellarium.

01/01/2018 – Ephemeris – The difference between the winter full moon and the summer one

January 1, 2018 Comments off

Happy New Year, this is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for New Years Day, Monday, January 1st. 2018. The Sun will rise at 8:19. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 53 minutes, setting at 5:13. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 5:11 this evening.

The exact time that the Moon will be fill, at least to the nearest minute is 9:24 tonight. Ever notice the placement of the full moon in the sky between winter and summer? The Full moon near the winter solstice moves very high at midnight, while the full moon near the summer solstice is seen quite low in the south. For the Moon to be full, it most be nearly opposite the Sun in the sky, so we see it fully illuminated as the Sun does. The Moon’s orbit is close to the Sun’s apparent path in the sky, the ecliptic, which is the projection of the Earth’s orbit of the Sun. So the Moon now is near where the Sun will be 6 months from now in late June, high in the sky. Next full moon we will see a lunar eclipse.

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

The winter full moon

The winter full moon at its highest. Created using Stellarium.

Summer full moon

The summer full moon at its lowest. Created using Stellarium.

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.

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.