10/11/2017 – Ephemeris – Lets find the bright planets tonight

October 11, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, October 11th. The Sun will rise at 7:53. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 11 minutes, setting at 7:04. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 11:59 this evening.

Let’s take our weekly look at the bright planets. Jupiter, for all intents and purposes is gone from the evening sky. It will cross into the morning sky later this month. Saturn too is sinking lower in the southwestern sky in the evening. Saturn’s rings are still spectacular in telescopes, but since Saturn is so low in the sky the turbulence of the thick atmosphere makes Saturn fuzzy and seemingly to go in and out of focus. Saturn will set at 10:17 p.m. In the morning sky, Mars will rise in the east at 5:38 a.m., ahead of Venus. In the week since their conjunction Mars has gained 20 minutes on Venus, which will rise at 5:58 in the east. Mars is less than 100th the brightness of Venus, so catch it early, before twilight overpowers it..

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

Addendum

Saturn and the constellations of the evening

Saturn and the constellations of the evening tonight at 8:30 p.m., October 11, 2017. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium. 

Saturn and moons

Saturn and its brightest moons overnight October 11/12, 2017. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Morning planets

Venus, Mars and the Moon at 7 a.m. October 12, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The Moon as it might be seen in binoculars, 7 a.m. October 12, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on October 11, 2017. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 12th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

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10/10/2017 – Ephemeris – Ada Lovelace Day

October 10, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Ada Lovelace Day, Tuesday, 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 before last quarter, will rise at 11:01 this evening.

Ada Lovelace Day is a day set aside to celebrate women in STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Ada Augusta King, Countess of Lovelace, born in 1815 is considered the world’s first computer programmer, writing a program on Jacquard loom punch cards for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Unfortunately the Analytical Engine never made it past the planning stage.

The recently completed incredibly successful Cassini Mission mission had three women in top roles: Project scientist, Linda Spilker; Spacecraft Operations Team Manager, Julie Webster; Imaging Science Subsystem Principle Investigator, Carolyn Porco, plus many more. STEM fields are still male dominated but lets encourage the girls to enter them too.

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 built. Credit: Science & Society Picture Library

Categories: Ephemeris Program Tags: ,

10/09/2017 – Ephemeris – Old World vs New World

October 9, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Columbus Day observed, Monday, October 9th. The Sun will rise at 7:50. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 7:07. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 10:09 this evening.

Today the United States celebrates Columbus Day , a Monday near the date Christopher Columbus landed on a Caribbean island, and found people who got there at least 15 thousand years earlier. Due to superior technology, and nothing else really, the Europeans conquered the peoples of the continents they called the Americas, deeming the indigenous peoples, incorrectly, as savages.

My astronomical journey started with learning the constellations and their stories from the ancient Greeks. About five years ago I began to investigate the constellations and stories of the Anishinaabek peoples whose ancient lands we live on, which turn out to be as rich and as meaningful as those I learned in my youth from the Old World.

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

10/06/2017 – Ephemeris – GTAS meeting tonight – Remembering Cassini

October 6, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, October 6th. The Sun will rise at 7:46. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 26 minutes, setting at 7:13. The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 8:10 this evening.

Tonight’s meeting, at 8 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory, of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) will feature yours truly and a program I’m calling Remembering Cassini. On a planet nearly a billion miles from earth the intrepid spacecraft called Cassini met its planned fate burning up in its atmosphere. It was a mission that lasted nearly 20 years, and orbited the ringed planet for 13 of those years, viewing the planet, its rings and moons from all angles, tasting the atmosphere of Titan, the geysers of Enceladus, and finally, at the end, the atmosphere of its host planet Saturn. We’ll have images, videos, and sounds of those alien worlds. At 9 p.m. there will be a star party featuring the Moon and Saturn

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

 

10/05/2014 – Ephemeris – The Harvest Moon

October 5, 2017 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, October 5th. The Sun will rise at 7:45. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 7:15. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 7:38 this evening.

This is the day of the Harvest Moon. It will rise just before sunset and colored like a huge pumpkin. The huge size is an optical illusion, and the coloring is courtesy of our Earth’s atmosphere selectively bleeding out the blue from the Moon’s light. The reason the Harvest Moon is so special is that during this period the Moon rises for quite a few days just before and in twilight, effectively lengthening the hours of light that farmers can have to harvest their crops. Tomorrow the Moon will rise 32 minutes later than tonight, rather than the average 50 minutes. The effect is a bit diminished this year because the Moon is nearing perigee, its closest to the Earth and is traveling a bit faster than average. The Moon can get down to a 25 minute day-to-day difference.

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

Addendum

Harvest Moon

The position of the Moon for 7 nights centered on moon rise tonight (10/04/2017). The rotation of the Earth carries the Moon to rise parallel to the green celestial equator line. The brown area at the bottom is below the horizon. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

10/04/2017 – Ephemeris – Where are the bright planets tonight?

October 4, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Wednesday, October 4th. The Sun will rise at 7:44. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 7:17. The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 7:21 tomorrow morning.

Let’s take our weekly look at the bright planets. Jupiter, for all intents and purposes is gone from the evening sky. It will cross into the morning sky later this month. Saturn too is sinking lower in the southwestern sky in the evening. Saturn’s rings are still spectacular in telescopes, but since Saturn is so low in the sky the turbulence of the thick atmosphere makes Saturn fuzzy and seemingly to go in and out of focus. Saturn will set at 10:43 p.m.

In the morning sky, brilliant Venus will rise at 5:11 a.m. in the east with much dimmer Mars below and right of it by half the width of the Moon. Mars is less than 100th the brightness of Venus, and will probably require binoculars to locate. (need a few words more)

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

Addendum

Saturn and the Moon in the evening

Saturn and the Moon in the evening at 8 p.m. October 4, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Saturn and moons

Saturn and its brightest moons overnight October 4/5, 2017. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Binocular Moon

The Moon as it might be seen in binoculars, 8 p.m. October 4, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society and I are invited to the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival being held for the Chinese exchange students in the Traverse City school system.  Its held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, the full moon, which works out to be October 4th this year.  They will be having Chinese food and viewing the Moon afterward.

One of the legends celebrated then will be the Jade Rabbit pounding medicine.  Jade Rabbit (Yutu) is the name of the Chinese rover that’s on the Moon.  And the Jade Rabbit can actually be seen on the Moon:

Jade Rabbit on the Moon

Jade Rabbit and Mortar on the Moon. Credit: Zeimusu, Creative Commons.

I hope they have Moon Cakes.  They sound yummy.

A closeup of Venus and Mars

A closeup of Venus and Mars at 6:30 a.m. October 5, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on October 4, 2017. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 5th. The full Moon has fallen in the cracks between the sunset and sunrise charts due to its position south of the ecliptic. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

10/03/2017 – Ephemeris – OSIRIS-REx and the asteroid Bennu

October 3, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, October 3rd. The Sun will rise at 7:43. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 7:18. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 6:11 tomorrow morning.

Eleven days ago, on September 22nd, a small spacecraft named OSIRIS-REx zipped past the Earth to gain speed and alter the inclination of its solar orbit to reach the asteroid Bennu late next year. Bennu is rated as a potentially hazardous asteroid, with a tiny chance of colliding with the Earth late in the next century.

Discovered in 1999, and named by a 9-year-old boy in a contest run by the Planetary Society after an Egyptian god who is depicted as a heron, because the spacecraft kinda looked like one. It is a carbonaceous asteroid, containing very primitive material from the dawn of the solar system. OSIRIS-REx will take a sample of the asteroid and return it to the Earth in 2023 if all goes well. The Earth pass also allowed it to calibrate its instruments.

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

Addendum

OSIRIS-REx

Artist’s conception of OSIRIS-REx about to collect a sample from asteroid Bennu. Image Credit:
NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney

Earth flyby

OSIRIS-REx observes the Earth. Here is the Pacific Ocean with Australia at the lower left, and the western US and Baja California at the upper right. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona

NASA’s caption:  A color composite image of Earth taken on Sept. 22 by the MapCam camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. This image was taken just hours after the spacecraft completed its Earth Gravity Assist at a range of approximately 106,000 miles (170,000 kilometers). MapCam is part of the OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS) operated by the University of Arizona. Visible in this image are the Pacific Ocean and several familiar landmasses, including Australia in the lower left, and Baja California and the southwestern United States in the upper right. The dark vertical streaks at the top of the image are caused by short exposure times (less than three milliseconds). Short exposure times are required for imaging an object as bright as Earth, but are not anticipated for an object as dark as the asteroid Bennu, which the camera was designed to image.

Categories: Ephemeris Program, NASA Tags: ,