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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.

07/21/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

July 21, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, July 21st. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 2 minutes, setting at 9:20, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:18. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 4:13 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. It will set at 10:49 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’ visibility is a real problem. It will be to the right and below Venus in the evening, and will set at 10:35 pm. It’s much dimmer than Venus. The bright star Regulus will be just below and left of Venus tonight. Saturn will be seen low in the southeast in the evening, with Jupiter rising later and best in the morning sky. Saturn will rise at 9:49 pm. Brighter Jupiter will rise at 10:41 pm, both in the east-southeast. By 5:30 am, these two planets will be in the southern 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 and Mars in evening twilight

Venus and Mars in evening twilight at 10 pm, about 40 minutes after sunset, tonight, Julyn21, 2021. Regulus, the first magnitude star in Leo, will appear just below and left of Venus. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium.

The Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter at 11 pm

The Gibbous Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter at 11 pm, tonight, July 21, 2021. The Moon is above the spout in the asterism of the Teapot in Sagittarius. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The gibbous Moon as it will look like in binoculars or small telescope tonight, July 21, 2021. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter Saturn in the morning

Jupiter and Saturn with the bright autumn star Fomalhaut, seen in morning twilight at 5:30. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic view of the bright planets_2300-072121

Telescopic view of the bright planets (north up), with the same magnification, this evening, July 21, 2021. Apparent diameters: Venus, 12.17″; Saturn 18.56″, its rings 43.24″; Jupiter, 47.70″. Mars has an apparent diameter of only 3.71″ 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 overnight tonight

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night, starting with sunset on the right on July 21, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 22nd. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

06/16/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

June 16, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, June 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:30, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 1:55 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. Venus will set at 11:04 pm. Mars can be found in the west-northwest at 10:30 tonight, It’s in Cancer and by next Wednesday will pass in front of the Beehive star cluster which can be easily seen in a pair of binoculars. Check it out each night before then and watch Mars approach the cluster, now to its upper left. Mars will set at 11:55 pm. Jupiter and Saturn, are in the morning sky. Saturn will rise at 12:12 am. It’s seen with the stars of Capricornus. Brighter Jupiter, to the left of Saturn, will rise at 1:01 am. By 5 am, these two planets will be in the south-southeast in the morning twilight.

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

Addendum

Venus in evening twilight

Venus in evening twilight at 10 pm or a half hour after sunset tonight over a sea or Lake Michigan horizon. Venus is a bit less than 10 degrees altitude. Created using Stellarium.

Moon, Mars and Venus tonight

The Moon, Mars and Venus at 11 pm or an hour and a half after sunset tonight over a sea or Lake Michigan horizon. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Mars and the Beehive star cluster

Mars and the Beehive star cluster at 11 pm tonight as they might be seen in binoculars. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The Moon as it might appear tonight in binoculars or small telescope tonight. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and Saturn in the morning

Jupiter and Saturn at 5 am or an hour before sunrise tomorrow morning. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic views of Venus, Saturn and Jupiter to scale

Telescopic views of Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. Venus at the same magnification. Venus, seen at 10 pm, will be 10.72″ in diameter. Saturn at 5 am will be 18.00″ in diameter, its rings 44.43″ in extent. And Jupiter will be 43.43″. The normal cutoff for whether to show a planet here is an apparent diameter of 10″ or greater. Mars doesn’t make the cut, its apparent diameter will be 3.98″ tonight. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree). Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night, starting with sunset on the right on June 16, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 17th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

 

 

05/13/2021 – Ephemeris – The Moon and Mercury will appear near one another tonight

May 13, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, May 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 9:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:15. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 11:08 this evening.

Tonight starting around 9:30, or half an hour after sunset is a good time to spot the thin crescent two day old Moon and the planet Mercury. The tiny and elusive Mercury will be about 7 moon widths to right of the Moon. With the Moon near Mercury, it should be easier to find instead of trying to locate it in the great expanse of featureless twilit sky. Mercury has a weird rotational period. In my youth astronomers thought that Mercury rotated so that one face would perpetually face the Sun, So it would rotate in the same time it orbits the Sun of 88 days. That’s what happens when the Moon orbits the Earth. However, Mercury rotates in exactly 2/3rds of its orbital time, making its solar day two of its years long or 176 Earth days.

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

Addendum

Closeup of the Moon exhibiting earth shine and Mercury at 9:30 pm tonight May 13, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Mercury rotates on its axis in 59 earth-days with respect to the stars. That’s called the sidereal rotation. As you can see, by following the rotating arrow, its rotation with respect with the Sun is two of its years or 176 earth-days. Earth’s sidereal rotation is 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds. Our rotation with respect to the Sun averages 24 hours exactly. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Age234 at the Wikipedia project.
Categories: Uncategorized

05/05/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

May 5, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Cinco de Mayo, Wednesday, May 5th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 26 minutes, setting at 8:53, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:25. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:44 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Mars will be joined by one or two more planets, deep in twilight. Both Mercury and Venus are now just above where the Sun set. By 9:30 pm Mercury should be able to be spotted low in the west-northwest. Venus might be spotted lower and somewhat earlier. Venus will be setting at 9:46 and Mercury at 10:33. Mars can be found in the west at 10 pm tonight, in the constellation of Gemini the twins. Tonight it’s just by Castor’s leg. Mars will set at 1:11 am. Jupiter and Saturn, are in the morning sky. Saturn will rise at 2:57 am, with brighter Jupiter rising at 3:38 am. By 5:30 am they will be low in the southeast. The Eta Aquariid meteor shower will reach it’s peak early tomorrow morning.

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

Addendum

Mercury and Venus in the evening twilight.
Mercury and Venus low in the west-northwest at 9:30 pm May 5, 2021, about 40 minutes after sunset, over a Lake Michigan horizon. Created using Stellarium.
Mars finder chart.
Mars at about 10:30 pm tonight, May 5, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Jupiter and Saturn low in the southeast at 5:30 am tomorrow, May 6, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
The Moon as it might appear tomorrow morning May 6, 2021, in binoculars or a small telescope. Created using Stellarium.
Saturn and Jupiter as seen in a small telescope at the same magnification. Apparent diameters: Saturn, 16.82″, rings, 39.17″; Jupiter, 37.90″. Mars is too far away to make out detail on its surface, except maybe a polar cap. Its apparent diameter is 4.50″. Venus’ apparent diameter is 9.88″ and will be added next week. Mercury’s apparent diameter is 6.2″. The cutoff for whether to show a planet here is an apparent diameter of 10″ or greater. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree). Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).
Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on May 5, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 6th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

Categories: Uncategorized

01/20/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s have a lookout for the naked-eye planets for this week

January 20, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Inauguration Day, Wednesday, January 20th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 5:35, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:12. The Moon, at first quarter today, will set at 1:38 tomorrow morning.

Let’s have a lookout for the naked-eye planets for this week. Mercury has joined Jupiter and Saturn extremely low in the southwestern sky. I’m afraid Saturn will be lost in the twilight, but Jupiter, with Mercury above it might be visible. Both are extremely low in the southwestern sky around 6 pm or a bit earlier. Jupiter will set at 6:04 pm and Mercury will set at 7:06 pm. Mercury might be the only one that can be spotted. Quite high in the south at 7 pm Mars can be found. It will actually be due south at 6:56 pm tonight, and above the Moon. Mars is increasing its speed eastward against the constellations and will set at 2 am. Venus will be hard to spot in the morning twilight after it rises at 7:22 tomorrow morning.

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

Addendum

Mercury in the evening twilight

Mercury in the evening twilight at 6 pm January 20, 2021. Though Jupiter is just above the horizon it should not be visible. Created using Stellarium.

Mars and the Moon

Mars and the first quarter Moon at 7 pm tonight, January 20, 2021. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular or low power telescope view of the first quarter Moon

Binocular or low power telescope view of the first quarter Moon. Created using Stellarium.

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on January 20, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 21st. I’m afraid that the labels for Jupiter, Saturn and now the Sun overlap, since the planets and Sun are very close. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

12/01/2020 – Ephemeris – Previewing December skies

December 1, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 1st. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 2 minutes, setting at 5:03, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:01. The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 6:02 this evening.

Let’s look at December skies. We are now in the holiday season and about to celebrate the southernmost travel of the Sun in the sky and its return northward. So there is not much change in sunrise and sunset times. The Sun will stop its travel south, the winter solstice, on the 21st at 5:02 am. It will make that day the shortest day in terms of daylight hours. However, the earliest sunset will occur on the 9th. The Geminid meteor shower will reach its peak on the evening of the 13th, near new moon. Also in the evening on the 21st Jupiter and Saturn will be in conjunction and will be easily visible in the same binocular or low power telescope field. This month starts out with a surprisingly active Sun at the start of a new sunspot cycle.

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

Addendum

December Evening Star Chart

December 2020 evening star chart

Star Chart for December 2020 (7 p.m. EST December 15, 2019). Click on image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program. Click on image to enlarge.
Credit my LookingUp program.

The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 7 pm EST (two hours earlier this year to include Jupiter and Saturn) in the evening and 6 a.m. for the morning chart. These are the chart times. Note that Traverse City is located approximately 45 minutes behind our time meridian, West 75° longitude. (An hour 45 minutes behind our daylight saving time meridian during EDT).

December Morning Star Chart

December 2020 Morning Star Chart

Star Chart for December mornings 2020 (6 a.m. EST December 15, 2020). Click on image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program. Credit my LookingUp program.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations click here.

  • Pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris the North Star.
  • The leaky bowl of the Big Dipper drips on Leo.
  • Follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper to the star Arcturus, then
  • Follow the spike to Spica.
  • The Summer Triangle is in red.
  • GemR on the star charts is the radiant of the Geminid meteor shower which peaks on the evening of the 13th.

Twilight Limits, Nautical and Astronomical

      EST        
  Morning twilight Evening twilight Dark night Moon
Date Astro. Nautical Nautical Astro. Start End Illum.
2020-12-01 6h21m 6h56m 18h15m 18h51m 0.99
2020-12-02 6h22m 6h57m 18h15m 18h50m 18h50m 18h51m 0.97
2020-12-03 6h23m 6h58m 18h15m 18h50m 18h50m 19h48m 0.92
2020-12-04 6h23m 6h59m 18h15m 18h50m 18h50m 20h52m 0.85
2020-12-05 6h24m 7h00m 18h15m 18h50m 18h50m 22h00m 0.77
2020-12-06 6h25m 7h01m 18h15m 18h50m 18h50m 23h12m 0.67
2020-12-07 6h26m 7h01m 18h15m 18h50m 18h50m 0.56
2020-12-08 6h27m 7h02m 18h15m 18h50m 18h50m 0h25m 0.45
2020-12-09 6h28m 7h03m 18h15m 18h50m 18h50m 1h39m 0.33
2020-12-10 6h29m 7h04m 18h15m 18h50m 18h50m 2h55m 0.22
2020-12-11 6h29m 7h05m 18h15m 18h50m 18h50m 4h13m 0.13
2020-12-12 6h30m 7h05m 18h15m 18h51m 18h51m 5h33m 0.06
2020-12-13 6h31m 7h06m 18h15m 18h51m 18h51m 6h31m 0.01
2020-12-14 6h31m 7h07m 18h16m 18h51m 18h51m 6h31m 0
2020-12-15 6h32m 7h08m 18h16m 18h51m 18h51m 6h32m 0.02
2020-12-16 6h33m 7h08m 18h16m 18h52m 19h09m 6h33m 0.06
2020-12-17 6h29m 7h05m 18h13m 18h48m 20h19m 6h29m 0.13
2020-12-18 6h30m 7h06m 18h13m 18h49m 21h29m 6h30m 0.21
2020-12-19 6h31m 7h06m 18h14m 18h49m 22h37m 6h31m 0.3
2020-12-20 6h31m 7h07m 18h14m 18h49m 23h42m 6h31m 0.4
2020-12-21 6h32m 7h07m 18h14m 18h50m 6h32m 0.5
2020-12-22 6h32m 7h08m 18h15m 18h51m 0h46m 6h32m 0.6
2020-12-23 6h33m 7h08m 18h16m 18h51m 1h47m 6h33m 0.69
2020-12-24 6h33m 7h08m 18h16m 18h52m 2h49m 6h33m 0.78
2020-12-25 6h33m 7h09m 18h17m 18h52m 3h51m 6h33m 0.85
2020-12-26 6h34m 7h09m 18h17m 18h53m 4h54m 6h34m 0.91
2020-12-27 6h34m 7h09m 18h18m 18h54m 5h57m 6h34m 0.96
2020-12-28 6h34m 7h10m 18h19m 18h54m 0.99
2020-12-29 6h35m 7h10m 18h20m 18h55m 0.99
2020-12-30 6h35m 7h10m 18h20m 18h56m 1
2020-12-31 6h35m 7h10m 18h21m 18h56m 0.99

Twilight calendar was generated using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

See my blog post: Twilight Zone for the definitions of the different periods of twilight here: https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/2018/09/27/.

NASA Calendar of Planetary Events

     Date     Time    Event
Dec 1  Tu            Venus: 27.5° W
    1  Tu  02:46 am  Moon Ascending Node
    2  We  08:22 pm  Moon North Dec.: 24.9° N
    4  Fr  08:10 pm  Moon-Beehive: 2.5° S
    7  Mo  07:37 pm  Last Quarter
   12  Sa  03:40 pm  Moon-Venus: 0.8° S
   12  Sa  03:42 pm  Moon Perigee: 361800 km
   13  Su  07:50 pm  Geminid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 120
   14  Mo  06:03 am  Moon Descending Node
   14  Mo  11:15 am  Total Solar Eclipse
                          (Pacific, S America, Atlantic)
   14  Mo  11:17 am  New Moon
   15  Tu  05:23 pm  Moon South Dec.: 24.9° S
   16  We  11:28 pm  Moon-Jupiter: 3° N
   17  Th  12:25 am  Moon-Saturn: 3.1° N
   19  Sa  09:56 pm  Mercury Superior Solar Conjunction
   21  Mo  05:02 am  Winter Solstice
   21  Mo  06:41 pm  First Quarter
   22  Tu  04:00 am  Ursid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 10
   22  Tu  04:35 am  Jupiter-Saturn: 0.1° N
   23  We  09:48 am  Venus-Antares: 5.6° N
   24  Th  11:32 am  Moon Apogee: 405000 km
   28  Mo  10:03 am  Moon Ascending Node
   29  Tu  10:28 pm  Full Moon
   30  We  02:53 am  Moon North Dec.: 24.9° N

All event times are given for UTC-5 Eastern Standard Time.

Sky Events Calendar by Fred Espenak and Sumit Dutta (NASA’s GSFC),
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SKYCAL/SKYCAL.html.

If you go to the above site you can print out a list like the above for the entire year or calendar pages for your time zone.

Sun and Moon Rising and Setting Events

LU                  Ephemeris of Sky Events for Interlochen/TC
December, 2020    Local time zone: EST
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------+
| DATE |  SUN     SUN  DAYLIGHT|   TWILIGHT*    |MOON  RISE OR    ILLUM |
|      |  RISE    SET    HOURS |  END    START  |PHASE SET** TIME FRACTN|
+=======================================================================+
|Tue  1| 08:00a  05:03p  09:02 | 06:12p  06:51a |      Rise 06:02p   98%|
|Wed  2| 08:01a  05:03p  09:01 | 06:12p  06:52a |      Rise 06:51p   94%|
|Thu  3| 08:02a  05:02p  09:00 | 06:12p  06:53a |      Rise 07:48p   88%|
|Fri  4| 08:03a  05:02p  08:58 | 06:12p  06:53a |      Rise 08:52p   80%|
|Sat  5| 08:04a  05:02p  08:57 | 06:12p  06:54a |      Rise 10:00p   71%|
+------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
|Sun  6| 08:05a  05:02p  08:56 | 06:12p  06:55a |      Rise 11:12p   61%|
|Mon  7| 08:06a  05:02p  08:55 | 06:12p  06:56a |L Qtr Rise 12:25a   50%|
|Tue  8| 08:07a  05:02p  08:54 | 06:12p  06:57a |      Rise 01:39a   39%|
|Wed  9| 08:08a  05:02p  08:53 | 06:12p  06:58a |      Rise 02:55a   28%|
|Thu 10| 08:09a  05:02p  08:52 | 06:12p  06:59a |      Rise 04:13a   18%|
|Fri 11| 08:10a  05:02p  08:51 | 06:12p  07:00a |      Rise 05:33a   10%|
|Sat 12| 08:11a  05:02p  08:51 | 06:12p  07:00a |      Rise 06:53a    4%|
+------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
|Sun 13| 08:12a  05:02p  08:50 | 06:13p  07:01a |      Rise 08:11a    1%|
|Mon 14| 08:12a  05:02p  08:49 | 06:13p  07:02a |New   Set  05:06p    0%|
|Tue 15| 08:13a  05:02p  08:49 | 06:13p  07:02a |      Set  06:03p    2%|
|Wed 16| 08:14a  05:03p  08:48 | 06:13p  07:03a |      Set  07:09p    7%|
|Thu 17| 08:14a  05:03p  08:48 | 06:14p  07:04a |      Set  08:18p   14%|
|Fri 18| 08:15a  05:03p  08:48 | 06:14p  07:04a |      Set  09:29p   22%|
|Sat 19| 08:16a  05:04p  08:48 | 06:15p  07:05a |      Set  10:37p   31%|
+------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
|Sun 20| 08:16a  05:04p  08:48 | 06:15p  07:05a |      Set  11:42p   40%|
|Mon 21| 08:17a  05:05p  08:48 | 06:16p  07:06a |F Qtr Set  12:45a   50%|
|Tue 22| 08:17a  05:05p  08:48 | 06:16p  07:06a |      Set  01:47a   60%|
|Wed 23| 08:18a  05:06p  08:48 | 06:17p  07:07a |      Set  02:49a   69%|
|Thu 24| 08:18a  05:07p  08:48 | 06:17p  07:07a |      Set  03:50a   77%|
|Fri 25| 08:18a  05:07p  08:48 | 06:18p  07:08a |      Set  04:53a   84%|
|Sat 26| 08:19a  05:08p  08:49 | 06:19p  07:08a |      Set  05:57a   91%|
+------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
|Sun 27| 08:19a  05:09p  08:49 | 06:19p  07:08a |      Set  07:00a   96%|
|Mon 28| 08:19a  05:09p  08:50 | 06:20p  07:09a |      Set  08:01a   99%|
|Tue 29| 08:19a  05:10p  08:50 | 06:21p  07:09a |Full  Rise 04:45p  100%|
|Wed 30| 08:19a  05:11p  08:51 | 06:21p  07:09a |      Rise 05:40p   99%|
|Thu 31| 08:20a  05:12p  08:52 | 06:22p  07:09a |      Rise 06:43p   96%|
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------+
* Nautical Twilight
** Moonrise or moonset, whichever occurs between sunrise and sunset

Generated using my LookingUp for DOS program.

Categories: Uncategorized

10/05/2020 – Ephemeris – The Space Age is 63 years old

October 5, 2020 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Monday, October 5th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 28 minutes, setting at 7:14, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:47. The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 9:15 this evening.

Sixty three years ago yesterday the space age began with the Soviet Union’s launching of the first artificial Earth satellite Sputnik 1. the name Sputnik means fellow traveler or traveling companion. I was a junior in high school at the time and already into astronomy and was well aware of the United States own Vanguard satellite program and preparations for amateur astronomers to track it from the ground. I was watching TV that night when the news broke that the Russians launched a satellite and played the beep-beep-beep transmitted by Sputnik and a white dot moving across the screen, supposedly the satellite. It caused a great deal of soul searching by the public about our science and educational programs.

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

Addendum

Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1, launched October 4, 1957, contained a battery and a radio transmitter to send out a beeping signal. It transmitted its signal for 21 days before its battery power ran out, and reentered the atmosphere on January 4, 1958. Source: National Air and Space Museum.
Categories: Uncategorized

07/16/2020 – Ephemeris – Comet NEOWISE’ orbit and path in our skies

July 16, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, 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, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 3:20 tomorrow morning.

Comet NEOWISE is now visible in the northwest at about 11:00 pm. It doesn’t fare too well in twilight. The tail will be near vertical but tilted a bit to the right. The comet’s orbit is tilted about 40 degrees to the Earth’s orbital plane and it is traveling opposite the traffic flow of the planets and asteroids of the solar system. It came from the south and is reaching its northern most position before heading back to the south. It is actually circumpolar now, meaning it is far enough north in our sky so it doesn’t set for those of us in the Grand Traverse region for another 6 days. Its low point will be just scraping the northern horizon. It is still visible in the morning in the northeast, but the evening time is now the best time to view it.

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

Addendum

NEOWISE evening_2300-071620

Comet 2020 F3 NEOWISE at 11 pm July 16, 2020, approximately an hour and a half after sunset. Created using Stellarium.

C/2020 F3 NEOWISE orbit

C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) orbit. Comet position at July 16 at 8 pm EDT: Earth distance 0.765 au, Sun distance 0.479 au. Credit JPL Small-Body Browser

05/04/2020 – Ephemeris – NASA mission preparations this month

May 4, 2020 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Monday, May 4th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 24 minutes, setting at 8:52, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:26. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 5:47 tomorrow morning.

May is a month of preparation for the space community. The Mars 2020 Rover, now named Endurance is getting packed up and balanced in preparation to be loaded into the sky crane and aeroshell, part of the cruise stage for its trip to Mars. It will employ the same landing technique as its predecessor, Curiosity which landed 9 years before in 2012. The launch is scheduled for July 17th to land on February 18th next year. It will deploy a small helicopter as a demonstration. It has many of the tools as Curiosity plus new ones and will cache rocks for future return to the Earth for further analysis. Hopefully by month’s end two NASA astronauts will launch on a Falcon 9 from US soil to the International Space Station.

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

Addendum

Mars 2020 Rover "Endurance"

Mars 2020 Rover “Endurance” destined for the martian crater Jezero. Credit NASA.

ars Helicopter "Ingenuity"

Mars Helicopter “Ingenuity” after deployment. Delta of ancient river that flowed into a lake in the Jezero crater. Credit NASA.

Ancient delta flowing into

Delta of ancient river that flowed into a lake in the Jezero crater. Credit NASA.

Crew Dragon docking to the ISS

Crew Dragon docking to the International Space Station during the Demo 1 flight. Credit NASA.

 

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