Posts Tagged ‘Aldebaran’

01/24/2019 – Ephemeris – Taurus the bull

January 24, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 5:40, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:09. The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 10:14 this evening.

Midway up the sky in the southeast at 8 p.m. is the constellation of the giant hunter Orion. Above him, to the right is Taurus the bull. His face is a letter V shape of stars lying on its side, the star cluster Hyades, with the bright orange-red star Aldebaran at one tip of the V as its angry blood-shot eye, but actually about half way between us and the cluster. Orion is depicted in the sky facing, with club in one hand and a shield in the other, the charging Taurus. The Pleiades star cluster is in his shoulder. Taurus in Greek mythology was the form the god Zeus when he carried off the maiden Europa. Europa’s still with him as the intriguing satellite orbiting Zeus’ Roman equivalent the planet Jupiter.

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


Taurus and Orion

Taurus and Europa at 8 p.m. January 24, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Rape of Europa

The Rape of Europa by Titian. According to the story Zeus as a bull abducted Europa and swam to Crete, where she became the first queen of that island, and bore him three sons. Other paintings of this subject are by Rembrandt and de Troy. This painting belongs to the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston, MA. Click on the image to enlarge.

Jupiter's moon Europa

Jupiter’s satellite Europa, slightly smaller than the Earth’s moon, has a fresh ice surface with very little cratering. The ice floats on a deep water ocean supposedly containing more water than all the Earth’s oceans. Click on the image to enlarge. This is a place NASA will send a spacecraft to look for the chemistry of life. Credit NASA/JPL, Ted Stryk.

11/23/2018 – Ephemeris – The Moon and Aldebaran

November 23, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, November 23rd. The Sun will rise at 7:50. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 5:07. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 5:55 this evening.

Tonight’s full Moon will be accompanied by the bright star Aldebaran, the angry red eye of the constellation Taurus the Bull. Earlier this year we had the last of nearly two years of the Moon every month passing in front of Aldebaran. The tilt of the Moon’s orbit with respect to the Earth’s own orbit of the Sun slides slowly westward with time, so The Moon won’t pass in front of Aldebaran for those of us on Earth again until 2033. This sliding of the Moon’s orbit is called regression of the nodes. A node is where the Moon’s orbital plane crosses the Earth’s. These are places eclipses of the Sun and Moon occur if lined up with the full or new moons. Why regression? The nodal points are moving westward, backward of most motions in the solar system.

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


Full moon with Aldebaran
Tonight’s full moon with Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the bull (8 p.m. November 23, 2018). Created using Stellarium.

11/12/2018 – Ephemeris – Orion is rising

November 12, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Veterans Day Observed, Monday, November 12th. The Sun will rise at 7:35. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 41 minutes, setting at 5:17. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 9:25 this evening.

Just after the Moon sets tonight winter’s most dazzling constellation will be rising, Orion the hunter of Greek myth. The stars of his torso are in a rectangle leaning to the left. Orion’s belt of three stars in a straight line in the center of the rectangle is nearly vertical. The Anishinaabe peoples whose region we live in see the constellation of the Wintermaker rather than Orion. It uses Orion’s torso and belt stars, but his arms are spread wide from Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the bull to the west to Procyon in Canis Minor, which won’t rise until 11 p.m. to the east. The Wintermaker’s arms are wide enough to embrace the entire winter sky. Its name in Anishinaabemowin, which is Biboonikeonini, means “North Wind”.

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

Orion or Wintermaker rising
Take your pick: it’s either Orion rising of the Wintermaker rising at 9:30 p.m. November 12th. Created using Stellarium and GIMP, and Western and Ojibwe star lore.

Ephemeris Extra – Occultation of Aldebaran visible from the Upper Peninsula and the tip of northern lower Michigan

July 8, 2018 Comments off

In the early morning hours of July 10th the very northern part of the IPR listening area will have a chance to see the last occultation of the bright star Aldebaran for at last 15 years. An occultation is where the Moon in this case passes in front of or occults a planet or a star. In astronomy occult means to hide. The event is an occultation. There is no black magic involved. It will be a grazing event, with Aldebaran popping in and out of view at the mountains and valleys at the southern edge of the Moon along a line running south of Mackinaw City and across the eastern tip of the Upper Peninsula.

Occultation of Aldebaran map

The Straits of Mackinac area showing the green southern graze line of the Occultation of Aldebaran. Credit Map Google Earth, Graze line by Occult 4.

It’s a clear miss for the Interlochen area, with the star skirting the Moon at it’s 5 o’clock position. The time of the event will be near 4:38 a.m. with the maximum time of the event increasing from west to east at nearly 2,000 miles an hour. At that time the Moon and Aldebaran will be low in the east-northeast and only 7 degrees above the horizon.

Moon and Aldebaran finder chart

Location of the Moon and Aldebaran in the sky at 4:38 a.m. July 10, 2018 from the Interlochen/Traverse City area.

More information on this occultation from Sky and Telescope is here.
This will be the last occultation of Aldebaran visible from around here for the next 15 years. However starting in 5 years there will be a monthly series of occultations of the bright star Regulus, and the next year a series of occultations of the star Spica will begin. That’s just for the Moon with bright stars. The Moon occults many dimmer stars a month. A very important field of occultations is the observation of occultations of asteroids and Kuiper belt objects to discover their size, shape, any satellites and whether they have rings. Go to the International Occultation Timing Association for more information.

Hat tip to Jerry Dobek, Director of the Joseph H. Rogers Observatory

04/24/2018 – Ephemeris – Venus will be south of the Pleiades tonight

April 24, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 24th. The Sun rises at 6:43. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 8:39. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 4:51 tomorrow morning.

Tonight the brilliant planet Venus will be just south of the Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters star cluster. From our cockeyed position on the Earth about half way from the equator and the North Pole. The sky in the east and west, low in the sky, is tilted about the same angle, namely about 45 degrees. If you’re listening to this program from other than Northern Michigan the angle will be the same as your latitude. So instead of south being down, as one would expect when looking to the south, south is to the lower left when looking to the west. On this program Thursday, Friday and Monday I’ll be talking about Venus and what the ancients found out about the planet in the days before the telescope was invented.

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


The sky low in the west

Venus, Pleiades, Aldebaran with the Hyades star cluster and Orion are seen in the west at 9:45 p.m. April 24, 2018. Venus is south of the Pleiades. Created using Stellarium.

Venus and the Pleiades with grid

A closer look at Venus and the Pleiades with the coordinate grid added. The lines that run from upper right to lower left are lines of right ascension, analogous to longitude lines on the Earth. To the upper right is north and lower left is south. The other lines are those of declination. Like latitude lines on the Earth, they run east and west. Created using Stellarium.

03/22/2018 – Ephemeris – The bright star Aldebaran will appear below the Moon tonight

March 22, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, March 22nd. The Sun will rise at 7:42. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 15 minutes, setting at 7:57. The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 1:48 tomorrow morning.

The bright star Aldebaran will appear below the Moon tonight. Over the past two years we’ve seen the Moon cover Aldebaran in an event called an occultation on several occasions. There will be a similar occultation tonight for the far northern part of the Earth. Though the series of Aldebaran occultations won’t end until September this year, we won’t see any of them. The Next season of monthly Aldebaran occultations for the Earth won’t start until 2033. It will last a bit more than 2 years. We’ll see our share of those occultations then. Other bright, first magnitude, stars that can be occulted by the Moon are Pollux in Gemini, Regulus in Leo, Spica in Virgo and Antares in Scorpius.

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


The Moon and Aldebaran

The star Aldebaran, the bloodshot eye of Taurus the bull at 9 p.m. tonight, March 22, 2018 to be seen below the crescent Moon. The rest of the face of Taurus, the V-shaped stars of the star cluster called the Hyades will be visible in binoculars. Created using Stellarium. The Moon will be brighter than Aldebaran, not the opposite as seen here.

02/12/2018 – Ephemeris – The Winter Circle

February 12, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 12th. The Sun will rise at 7:47. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 19 minutes, setting at 6:07. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 6:29 tomorrow morning.

The winter skies are blessed with more first magnitude stars than any other season. Six of these stars lie in a large circle centered on the seventh, It’s called the Winter Circle. This circle is up at 9 p.m. Starting high overhead is yellow Capella in Auriga the charioteer. Moving down clockwise is orange Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the Bull. Then down to Orion’s knee we find blue-white Rigel. Down and left is the brightest star of all the brilliant white Sirius the Dog Star in Canis Major, lowest of these stars in the south-southeast. Moving up and left is white Procyon in Canis Minor, Above Procyon is Pollux in Gemini the twins. All these are centered, well not quite, on Betelgeuse the bright red star in Orion’s shoulder.

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


Winter Circle

The bright stars of winter arrayed in a circle (well almost). Created using Stellarium.