Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

06/02/2020 – Ephemeris – It’s 1968 all over again

June 2, 2020 Comments off

A nod to the disturbing events happening back on Earth…

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 23 minutes, setting at 9:22, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:59. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 4:44 tomorrow morning. | It seems that we’re back to 1968 again. Civil unrest, an election year with an unpopular president, advances in space. In 1968, it was Apollo 8’s triumphant journey to and around the Moon. This year’s first commercial Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station, after 9 years of bumming rides from the Russians, whom we supposedly beat in the space race back in the 1960s, is our Apollo 8. Our unpopular wars in the Middle East now hardly make the news, unlike the Vietnam War, but the racial strife seems as bad as ever. To top it off, this year we have the COVID-19 pandemic that is destroying the economy and our way of life. No wonder I seek the solace of the stars in the universe beyond.

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


Stars and the Milky Way centered on Perseus. Credit Bob Moler.

Categories: Ephemeris Program, Rant

05/19/2016 – Ephemeris – Daylight Saving Time in West Michigan

May 19, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 19th.  Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 59 minutes, setting at 9:09.   The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 5:49 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the Sun will rise at 6:08.

It is nearing summer and the powers that be have bequeathed on us daylight saving time, even starting it before the end of winter since 2007.  It is a thing that amateur astronomers hate.  This time of year through the end of July the Sun just sets too late, and if one has a day job, it’s nearly impossible to stay up long enough to start observing at 11 p.m. or midnight, and be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning.  Nautical twilight, when the sea horizon is no longer discernible ends at 10:28 p.m. tonight, and astronomical twilight, when it’s pitch dark, ends at 11:19.  It gets worse the farther north and west you go in the Eastern time zone.   At least this year we have three planets to entertain us in the evening twilight.

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


Time Zone Map

Our place in the Eastern Time Zone. Source  If you are using Firefox right-click on the map and select View Image to enlarge.

We are near longitude W 86°.  Our Eastern Standard time meridian is W 75°, which runs through Philadelphia, which I’ve added to the map, southwest of New York.  With 15° per hour that makes that 44 minutes behind Philadelphia.  Theoretically time zones should extend 30 minutes on either side of a standard time meridian.

During daylight time our time meridian is W 60°, which is off the map.  That meridian just ticks the eastern end of Nova Scotia in Canada.  For us near 45° north latitude astronomical twilight ends shortly after midnight.

Raise the debt ceiling already!

July 26, 2011 Comments off

Here is the email I sent my US representative Dave Camp:

Dear Mr. Camp,

I am writing to you to urge you to vote to raise the debt ceiling.  Preferably with no strings attached.  The amount of hate coming from the extreme right towards Mr. Obama must be more that just his politics.  Heck he’s farther right than I am, and I consider myself a moderate.

We cannot continue to be a great country by starving the government, the poor and elderly.  I know “investing” is a bad word to you Republicans, but America must invest in jobs, our infrastructure, and our future or our drop from a first world to a third world country will be rapid.  To do this we must spend and if necessary raise taxes.

Get on with it, Sir.


Bob Moler

I live in the politically red side of the State of Michigan, where the joke is, on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay, “A view of the bay is worth half your pay.”

It’s no joke.

Categories: Rant