10/10/2018 -Ephemeris – Where are the bright planets for this week?

October 10, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, October 10th. The Sun will rise at 7:51. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 14 minutes, setting at 7:06. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 8:23 this evening.

Let’s look at the bright planets today. Three of them are visible in the evening sky. The brilliant Venus will be just too low to spot, setting 9 minutes after the Sun. The problem isn’t its separation from the Sun, but it is also south of the Sun’s path. Jupiter will be in the west-southwest as it gets dark. The big planet will set at 8:40 p.m. Saturn will start the evening low in the southwestern sky and will set at 11:05 p.m. Mars will be low in the south as the skies darken tonight. and is now 60.5 million miles (97.4 million km) away. Mars will be due south at 9:19 p.m., and it will set at 2:03 a.m. Mars is beginning to pick up speed moving eastward, crossing the constellation of Capricornus this month.

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

Addendum

Evening planets
The evening planets at 8:00 p.m. October 10, 2018. Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon
The thin crescent Moon as it should appear tonight in binoculars. Created using Stellarium.
Planets as seen in a telescope
Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars with the same magnification at 8 p.m. Europa will be occulted by Jupiter at 8:25 p.m. 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 October 10, 2018. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 11th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.
Advertisements

10/09/2018 – Ephemeris – Ada Lovelace Day

October 9, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Ada Lovelace Day, Tuesday, October 9th. The Sun will rise at 7:50. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 7:08. The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 7:53 this evening.

Ada Lovelace Day is dedicated to Lord Byron’s daughter as the first computer programmer more than a century before the computer as we know it was invented. She worked with Charles Babbage as he designed his Analytical Engine, which would have been the world’s first truly general purpose computer, mechanical though it was.  The day is also dedicated to women in the STEM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Two days from now, the 11th will be the International Day of the Girl, promoting the education and possibilities of 52% of the population that aren’t male. Some of the female astronomers I follow on Twitter are astrophysicist Dr. Katherine Mack as @AstroKatie, planetary radar astronomer Alessondra Springmann as @sondy, planetary scientist Carolyn Porco, @carolynporco. These are a few, and in my field of computer programming, I celebrate the late Admiral Grace Hopper.

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

Addendum

Ada Lovelace
Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) considered the first computer programmer, even though the machine she wrote code for was never completed. Credit: Science & Society Picture Library
AnalyticalMachine
Trial model of a part of the Analytical Engine, built by Charles Babbage, as displayed at the Science Museum (London). By Bruno Barral (ByB), CC BY-SA 2.5.

The analytic Engine was designed to be programed with punch cards.

10/08/2018 – Ephemeris – My investigations in the local native people’s star knowledge

October 8, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day, depending on your point of view, Monday, October 8th. The Sun will rise at 7:49. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 7:10. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

For the last six or so years I’ve been studying the constellations and stories of the Anishinaabek people native to this region of North America. The impetus to really dig in came with an invitation to speak at the Grand Traverse Band’s museum. I had admitted that I knew nothing about it, And apparently, the museum curator didn’t know an elder with the knowledge. With a couple of suggestions, I did some research on the Internet and books. Over the years I have introduced these constellations and related their stories, especially the Fisher who brought summer to the Earth. He replaces the Great Bear in the sky, and his bloody tail will swoop down to paint the trees with their autumn colors.

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

Addendum

Fisher brushing his tail along the horizon
An animation of Fisher brushing his tail along the horizon on autumn nights. Created using Stellarium.

The Anishinaabek constellation drawing of the Fisher is from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide  by Annette S. Lee, William Wilson, Jeffrey Tibbets and Carl Gawboy available locally and online.  They are part of the latest editions of Stellarium, a free planetarium program.  Links to it are on the right.  Other information and links are available within the Sky Lore tab.

Here’s one of the links: http://www.nativeskywatchers.com/.  It also contains links to Lakota star maps and lore.

My story of the Fisher is here: https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/the-story-of-the-fisher-star/

Categories: Uncategorized

10/05/2018 – Ephemeris – All about telescopes for the gift giving season

October 5, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, October 5th. The Sun will rise at 7:45. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 7:15. The Moon, halfway from last quarter to new, will rise at 4:28 tomorrow morning.

We at the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society get asked a lot about what kind of telescope to get for their beginning astronomer, whether young or old. With the gift-giving season coming upon us, now is the time to plan ahead. This month’s meeting at 8 p.m. at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory there will be several types of telescopes there, including one of mine*. There is no right telescope, but there are lots of wrong telescopes, and its not always the telescope itself, but the mounting that’s the problem. Society members will show you what the various telescopes can do, what you need, and don’t need. What’s the best telescope for what price range.

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

* I’m currently suffering from a sprained wrist, so I may not be able to bring in my 11″ Dobsonian telescope, but will bring in a much smaller (3″) telescope of similar design instead.

10/04/2018 – Ephemeris – Capricornus the sea-goat

October 4, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, October 4th. The Sun will rise at 7:44. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 7:17. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:14 tomorrow morning.

Two thousand years ago the southernmost of the constellations of the zodiac was Capricornus the water goat. That’s why the latitude on the earth where the sun is overhead on the winter solstice is called the Tropic of Capricorn. Not anymore, Sagittarius, one constellation west, has that honor today. Actually, Capricornus does need the press. It’s 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. The constellation is found low in the south at 10 p.m. with Mars on its western edge. The image that is supposed to be represented by the stars is that of a goat whose hindquarters are replaced by a fish’s tail, not a mermaid but a mer-goat.

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

Addendum

Capricornus finder animation
Capricornus finder animation based at 10 p.m. October 4, 2018. Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.
Categories: Constellations Tags:

10/03/2018 – Ephemeris – This week’s look at the bright planets

October 3, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, October 3rd. The Sun will rise at 7:43. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 36 minutes, setting at 7:19. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 2:02 tomorrow morning

Let’s look at the bright planets today. Three of them are visible in the evening sky. The brilliant Venus will be just too low to spot, setting 29 minutes after the Sun. The problem isn’t its separation from the Sun, but it is also south of the Sun’s path. Jupiter will be in the southwest as it gets dark. The big planet will set at 9:03 p.m. Saturn will start the evening low in the south-southwest sky and will set at 11:31 p.m. I will be giving a talk about Saturn tonight at the Main branch of the library in Traverse City at 7 p.m. Mars will be low in the south-southeast as the skies darken tonight. and is now 56.7 million miles (91.3 million km) away. Mars will be due south at 9:34 p.m., and it will set at 2:03 a.m.

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

Addendum

Evening planets
The evening planets at 8:00 p.m. October 3, 2018. Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.
telescopic planets
Venus, already set; Jupiter, Saturn and Mars with the same magnification at 8:30 p.m.
Binocular Moon
The waning crescent Moon as it should appear by 6 tomorrow morning in binoculars. Created using Stellarium.
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 October 3, 2018. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 4th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

10/02/2018 – Ephemeris – I will give a talk on Saturn at the Traverse Area District Library tomorrow night

October 2, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, October 2nd. The Sun will rise at 7:42. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 39 minutes, setting at 7:21. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 12:55 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow night October 3rd at 7 p.m. I’ll be giving a talk at the main branch of the Traverse Area District Library on Woodmere Avenue, about the amazing discoveries made about Saturn, its rings and moons by the Cassini spacecraft and its Titan lander Huygens, spanning 7 years to get there and 13 orbiting Saturn among its rings and moons. The spacecraft made a planned plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere a year ago. The illustrated talk is called Remembering Cassini. Besides the numerical data sent back were images, some of which were made into videos, such as the landing of the Huygens probe on Titan. After the talk, if it will be clear, Saturn will be visible in the telescopes of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society, along with other wonders of the skies.

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

Addendu

Cassini and Huygens
Cassini and Huygens from Remembering Cassini