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07/29/2021 – Ephemeris – Anishinaabe constellation of their hero

July 29, 2021 Leave a comment

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, July 29th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 9:11, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:27. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 12:17 tomorrow morning. | Tuesday I talked about the constellation Scorpius the scorpion now seen low in the southern sky in the evening. To me, the stars here make a very good scorpion. Scorpius was invented by people of the Middle East, where scorpions are plentiful. The Anishinaabe native peoples of our area, however, saw one of their legendary hero figures, Nenabozho*. In the sky, the arc of three stars at the front of the scorpion and to the right of the bright star Antares is his bow. He is shooting an arrow toward the receding Great Panther or Curly Tail a constellation of spring whose curl of a tail is the head of the constellation Leo, now lost in the evening twilight in the west. Nenabozho was a hero in their creation stories, a trickster who was often seen as a rabbit.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

Addenda

* Nenabozho is pronounced like Nana-bouz-hou, though different tribes pronounced it differently. I could not find Nenabozho and its various other transliterations, one of which was Nanaboozhoo in the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary (https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu/). However, since he occasionally shape-shifted into being a rabbit his name includes a part of the name for rabbit, waabooz. That entry had several audio examples. That’s how I got the pronunciation for the radio program.

Finder chart

Nenabozho animated finder chart

Animated finder for the Anishinaabe constellation of Nenabozho showing the unannotated star field, the Western constellation of Scorpius and Nenabozho. Created using Stellarium (both star lore images are embedded in Stellarium). The Anishinaabe image is embedded in Stellarium and is from Ojibwe Giizhig Anung Masinaaigan – Ojibiwe Sky Star Map created by A. Lee, W. Wilson, and C. Gawboy.

 

07/28/2021 – Ephemeris – Searching for the naked-eye planets on the last Wednesday in July

July 28, 2021 Leave a comment

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, July 28th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 9:13, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:25. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:58 this evening.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Venus can be spotted low in the west-northwest twilight by 9:45 pm. It will set at 10:39 pm. Venus will be spending the rest of summer low in the western sky, and not be as conspicuous as it usually is as the Evening Star. Mars, I believe, is too faint and close to the Sun to be seen from northern latitudes. Saturn will be seen low in the southeast in the evening, with Jupiter rising later. Saturn, 5 days from opposition, that is being opposite the Sun in the sky and closest to Earth, will rise at 9:21 pm. Brighter Jupiter will rise at 10:12 pm, both planets will rise in the east-southeast. By 5:30 am, these two planets will be in the southwestern sky in the morning twilight.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Venus in twilight in thje west

Venus in evening twilight in the west at 10 pm, July 28, 2021. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and Saturn at 11 pm

Jupiter and Saturn low in the southeast at 11 pm. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The waning gibbous Moon as it might be seen in binoculars or small telescope at 5:30 am, July 29, 2021. Created using Stellarium.

The naked-eye planets as they would be seen in small telescopes

Telescopic view of the bright planets (north up) as they would be seen in a small telescope, with the same magnification, this evening, July 28, 2021. Apparent diameters: Venus, 12.58″; Saturn 18.59″, its rings 43.31″; Jupiter, 48.28″. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets and the Moon overnight tonight

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night, starting with sunset on the right on July 28, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 29th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

07/26/2021 – Ephemeris – Albireo, a colorful double star in Cygnus the swan

July 26, 2021 Leave a comment

This is Ephemeris for Monday, July 26th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 52 minutes, setting at 9:15, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:23. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 11:15 this evening.

Alberio is the name given to the star that is in the beak of the constellation of Cygnus the swan, which is high in the east these evenings. It is also at the foot of the asterism or informal constellation of the Northern Cross. To the naked eye Alberio looks like a single star, however even in small telescopes* its true nature is revealed. It is a double star whose individual star colors are strikingly different Its brightest star is yellow, and the dimmer star is blue. While star colors are subtle, these two, due to their apparent closeness, make an obvious color contrast. Unlike what your interior decorator says: In stars blue is hot, yellow, orange and red are cool. Also, it turns out that Alberio’s component stars don’t orbit each other. It is what is called an optical double. The blue star is a bit farther away than the yellow one, though they’re both around 430 light years away.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

* It will take at least about 20 power magnification to split. Binoculars won’t do it.

Addendum

Albireo finder animation

Animated Albireo finder chart. Albireo is located in the head of Cygnus the swan, or at the base of the Northern Cross. Tagged stars are, beside Albireo, the stars of the Summer Triangle: Deneb, Vega and Altair plus the star at the junction of the upright and crosspiece of the cross, Sadr. Created using Stellarium.

Albireo photographed in a telescope

Albireo, captured at high magnification by the staff of the Smithsonian Institution.

07/19/2021 – Ephemeris – How does your telescope’s image orientation compare to how it looks to the naked-eye?

July 19, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, July 19th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 9:22, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:16. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 2:35 tomorrow morning.

When you look through a telescope at the Moon, how does it look compare to how it looks to the naked-eye? Yes, it’s bigger and probably brighter. But how did its orientation change? Astronomical telescopes generally give an upside-own image, that is rotated 180 degrees. Newtonian reflector telescopes, with their eyepiece near the top of the telescope, give such an image, as do refractor telescopes where the diagonal mirror near the eyepiece is not used. When such a mirror is used a right side up, but mirror image is the result. The mirror image results when an odd number of reflections occur in the light path. Binoculars use two or four reflections. Newtonian reflectors have two reflections. It can be confusing sometimes.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Telescope image orientations

Categories: Concepts, Observing, Telescopes Tags:

07/16/2021 – Ephemeris – The best time to see detail on the Moon (IMHO)

July 16, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, July 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 11 minutes, setting at 9:24, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:13. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 1:08 tomorrow morning.

I consider the week centered on the first quarter moon to be the best time to view the Moon in a telescope. The best part of the Moon to view is near the terminator. The terminator is the sunrise line on the moon that we see before full moon, and the sunset line we see after full moon. The terminator is where the shadows are longest on the Moon and indeed on the Earth, with the low Sun in the sky. The Moon has lots of craters in its south or bottom part. We call that the lunar highlands, which is completely saturated with craters. Personally, I like craters. The darker lava plains that were initially called seas (the name stuck). They are flat and nearly featureless unless seen very close to the terminator, where the slight wrinkle ridges can be spotted.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The Moon tonight

The Moon tonight at 11 pm, July 16, 2021, about a day and 7 hours before the instant of first quarter. Note the shadows that bring out the craters near the terminator. Created using Stellarium.

Wrinkle ridges

Wrinkle ridges on the floor of a lunar sea (lava plain). These are only visible at a very low sun angle near the terminator. I can find no information on this image, but apparently it was taken in lunar orbit. This is much sharper detail than can be seen from earth.

 

07/09/2021 – Ephemeris – Finding the constellation of Aquila the eagle

July 9, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, July 9th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 9:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:07. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

Aquila the eagle is a constellation that lies in the Milky Way. It’s in the southeastern sky as it gets dark. Its brightest star, Altair, is one of the stars of the Summer Triangle, a group of three bright stars dominating the eastern sky in the evening now. Altair, in the head of the eagle, is flanked by two slightly dimmer stars, the shoulders of the eagle. The eagle is flying northeastward through the Milky Way. Its wings are seen in the wing tip stars. A curved group of stars to the lower right of Altair is its tail. Within Aquila, the Milky Way shows many dark clouds as part of the Great Rift that splits it here. The other summer bird is Cygnus the swan above and left of Aquila, flying in the opposite direction. It was said this was the eagle that attended the god Jupiter.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT-4). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Aquila finder animation

Animated Cygnus finder chart. Lyra the harp, Cygnus the swan, Delphinus the dolphin and Sagitta the arrow are also in the image. Can you find them? Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

07/08/2021 – Ephemeris – How to find the constellation of Cygnus the swan

July 8, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, July 8th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 23 minutes, setting at 9:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:06. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 5:23 tomorrow morning.

Halfway up the sky in the east at 11 pm is the constellation of Cygnus the swan, flying south through the Milky Way. It is also called the Northern Cross. At the left, the tail of the swan or the head of the cross is the bright star Deneb, one of the stars of the Summer Triangle. The next star to the right is Sadr the intersection of the body and the wings of the swan seen in flight, or the intersection of the two pieces of the cross. There are two or three stars farther to the right that delineate the swan’s long neck or upright of the cross, that ends with the star Alberio, a beautiful double star in telescopes, in the beak of the swan or foot of the cross. The crosspiece of the cross extends to the stars on either side of the intersection star Sadr, while the swan’s wings extend for a couple more stars each side.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT-4). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Cygnus finder animation

Animated Cygnus finder chart. Included also are, beside Deneb, the other stars of the Summer Triangle: Vega and Altair and their constellations Lyra the harp and Aquila. See if you can find them. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium.

06/30/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

June 30, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, June 30th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 31 minutes, setting at 9:32, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:01. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 1:35 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Venus can be spotted low in the west-northwest twilight by 10 pm or a little after. It will set at 11:06 pm. Venus will be spending the rest of summer low in the western sky for the rest of summer, and not be a conspicuous as it usually is. Mars can be found in the west-northwest at 11pm. It’s in Cancer and will set at 11:25 pm as it is slowly losing its race with the Sun. Saturn and Jupiter, are seen best in the morning sky. Saturn will rise before midnight at 11:15 pm. It’s seen with the stars of Capricornus. Brighter Jupiter, to the left of Saturn, will rise at 12:06 am. By 5 am, these two planets will be in the south in the morning twilight.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT-4). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Venus in evening twilight

Venus in evening twilight at 10:30, about an hour after sunset. Mars is in the picture, but the twilight is overpowering it. Created using Stellarium.

Mars with Venus setting at 11 pm

Mars with Venus setting at 11 pm, an hour and a half after sunset. Also, visible may be the bright star Regulus in the constellation of Leo the lion with the asterism of the Sickle or backwards question mark that delineate the head and mane of the beast. Created using Stellarium.

Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon in morning twilight

Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon in morning twilight of 5 am, about an hour before sunrise. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon at last quarter

The Moon at last quarter as it might be seen in binoculars or small telescope at 5 am, July 1, 2021. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic planets the night of 06/30/21-07/01/21

The planets as seen in a telescope (north up) with the same magnification for the night of June 30/July 1, 2021. Times of the display are: Venus, 10:30 pm; Saturn and Jupiter, 5 am. Apparent diameters: Venus, 11.19″; Saturn 18.29″, its rings 42.62″; Jupiter, 45.30″. Mars has an apparent diameter of only 3.86″ and is not represented. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets and the Moon on a single night sunset 063021 to sunrise 070121

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night, starting with sunset on the right on June 30, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the July 1st. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

06/29/2021 – Ephemeris – The Summer Triangle

June 29, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 29th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 9:32, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:00. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 1:14 tomorrow morning.

Dominating the eastern sky at 11 pm are three bright stars. These are all first magnitude stars, members of the group of 21 brightest stars in the night sky. Highest, in the east, is Vega, the brightest of the three. It and a small, slim parallelogram of stars below it belong to the constellation of Lyra the harp. Below it to the northeast is Deneb, dimmest of the three at the head of the horizontally appearing Northern Cross, an informal constellation or asterism. Properly, Deneb is in the tail of Cygnus the swan flying south through the Milky Way. The third star of the three is Altair, lower still, but in the east-southeast at the head of Aquila the Eagle. These three stars are in a large asterism called the Summer Triangle, which will be with us through summer and fall.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT-4). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Summer Triangle finder animation

The Summer Triangle finder animation showing first the unlabeled sky, Then the Summer Triangle with the stars labeled, then the constellations of those stars. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

06/22/2021 – Ephemeris – Mars is poised to cross in front of the Beehive Star Cluster tonight

June 22, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 22nd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:32, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:57. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 4:41 tomorrow morning.

Tonight, the planet Mars will be at the western edge of the Beehive star cluster. Tomorrow night, Mars will be seen against its stars. Normally, the Beehive star cluster is easily seen in binoculars. The problem is, that both the cluster and Mars will be low in the west-northwestern sky, only six to seven degrees above a sea or lake horizon near the optimal time to spot them of 11 pm. It has been 8 months since Mars was opposite the Sun in our skies, and relatively close to us. Back then it was as bright as Jupiter and relatively close to the Earth. Now, Mars is 221 million miles (356 million kilometers) and 5 times farther aw0ay, about half the distance to Jupiter. It’s tiny in telescopes and very hard to pick out of the dim twilight glow of 11 pm.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT-4). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Mars passing in front of M44 animation

Mars passing in front of M44 as a GIF animation. This is difficult to spot with binoculars low in the west-northwest at 11 pm on the nights of June 22nd, 23rd and 24th. The Beehive star cluster is a relatively close and sparse cluster. On dark nights in early spring, the cluster looks like a fuzzy spot to the naked-eye. It reveals its true nature in binoculars. Created using Cartes du Ciel.