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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

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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

11/05/2017 – Ephemeris Extra – There will be an Occultation of Aldebaran tonight*

November 5, 2017 1 comment

This posting will not be broadcast.

* Or tomorrow morning, depending where you are.

Ephemeris extra for Sunday, November 5th. The Sun will rise at 7:25. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 5 minutes, setting at 5:25. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 7:01 this evening.

Tonight just after 8 p.m. the bright star Aldebaran will disappear at the left edge of the Moon. Aldebaran is angry red eye of Taurus the bull. The star will reappear at the dark upper right edge of the Moon. Start looking at 8 p.m. or before. Use binoculars or a small telescope to spot the star against the glare of the bright Moon. The star is nowhere as bright as shown in the illustrations below. Star appearances and disappearances appear instantaneous, unlike what the illustrations show.

Aldebaran Occultation begins at 8:07 p.m. EST (1:07 UTC Nov 6th)
Aldebaran Occultation ends at 9:00 p.m. EST (02:00 UTC Nov 6th)

Note the times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area. It will vary by a few minutes for northern lower Michigan.  The position angles of the entrance and exit points of Aldebaran will also be different.

Otherwise use a planetarium program like Stellarium to preview the event. However, set the program for topocentric coordinates. In Stellarium that’s in the Configuration window, Tools Tab and check the Topocentric coordinates box. Topocentric coordinates are the apparent positions for your location on the Earth. So also make sure your location is correct. The geocentric conjunction of the two bodies will be November 6, 2:42.9 UTC, so it will occur after midnight on the morning of November 6th for locations in northern Europe and Asia.

Addendum

Occultation Map

Occultation Map for the occultation of Aldebaran by the Moon . Credit Occult 4 program from IOTA.org.

Occultation start

Aldebaran at the start of the occultation at 8:07 p.m. for the Traverse City/Interlochen area. Created using Stellarium.

Occultation end

Aldebaran at the end of the occultation at 9:00 p.m. for the Traverse City/Interlochen area. Created using Stellarium.

11/03/2017 – Ephemeris – The Sun is the topic at tonight’s GTAS meeting

November 3, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, November 3rd. The Sun will rise at 8:23. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 5 minutes, setting at 6:28. The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 8:35 tomorrow morning.

This evening the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will hold its monthly meeting at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory at 8 p.m. with a program featuring member Don Flegel in a talk about the Sun. Don’s the keeper of our solar telescope and wanted a good excuse to learn more about the Sun, so he decided to study up and give this talk. That’s how I do it.

After the talk, at 9 p.m. there will be a star party, if it’s clear, to view the heavens including the Moon. The observatory is located south of Traverse City, on Birmley Road between Garfield and Keystone roads.

It’s time to change our clocks again at 2 a.m. Sunday. Turn your clocks back one hour. That’s Fall Back one hour for a bit of extra sleep.

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

Addenda

Don Flegel at Fishtown

Don Flegel, in the foreground, with the society’s solar telescope assisting a person viewing the Sun at he Leland Heritage Festival 2017 at Fishtown.  Man in the background in the blue cap is Gary Carlisle.  The telescope in the middle is mine.

Occultation of Aldebaran by the Moon Sunday Night

Occultation Map

Occultation Map for the occultation of Aldebaran by the Moon . Credit Occult 4 program from IOTA.org.

For the Traverse City/Interlochen area:

Aldebaran Occultation start 8:07 p.m. Nov 5th (01:07 UT Nov 6th)
Aldebaran Occultation end 9:00 p.m. Nov 5th (02:00 UT Nov 6th)

I’ll have an Ephemeris Extra posting, Sunday November 5th with more information.

10/23/2017 – Ephemeris – The loneliest star in the sky

October 23, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, October 23rd. The Sun will rise at 8:08. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 6:44. The Moon, half way from new to first quarter, will set at 9:27 this evening.

There’s a bright star that appears for only seven and a half hours on autumn evenings from northern Michigan. It’s appearance, low in the south at around 10:30 p.m. tonight, is a clear indication of the autumn season. The star’s name is Fomalhaut, which means fish’s mouth. That’s fitting because it’s in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish. At our latitude it’s kind of the fish that got away, because Fomalhaut appears to be quite alone low in the sky. The faintness of the constellation’s other stars and location close to the horizon make the dim stars hard to spot. The earth’s thick atmosphere near the horizon reduces their brightness by a factor of two or more, so Fomalhaut, one of the brightest stars in the sky, keeps a lonely vigil in the south.

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

Addendum

Fomalhaut in the south at 8 p.m. on November 15, 2012. Created using Stellarium.

Fomalhaut in the south at 9:30 p.m. on October 23, 2017. Created using Stellarium.