Posts Tagged ‘Algieba’

04/13/2018 – Ephemeris – Regulus, in Leo the lion, the “Little King” star.

April 13, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, April 13th. The Sun will rise at 7:01. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 23 minutes, setting at 8:25. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:42 tomorrow morning.

The brightest star in the constellation Leo, which is high in the south these evenings is Regulus, whose name means “Little King”. It is appropriate due to its position in the heart of the king of beasts Leo the lion. Regulus is dead last in brightness of the 21 first magnitude stars, the brightest night-time stars. Even so, it is much brighter than the Sun. It is 79 light years away. The Sun would require a telescope to be spotted at that distance. Regulus appears to be a quadruple star system. The bright star itself is really two stars with a bright star orbited by a much dimmer star every 40 days. There are two dimmer stars much further out that share Regulus’ motion through space. There are an infinite variety of star system arrangements in the galaxy and beyond.

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


Regulus in Leo the Lion

The naked eye stars of Leo, including Regulus at 10 p.m. April 13, 2018. Note that Algieba is a binary star that can be seen in small telescopes. The yellow line that passes Regulus is the ecliptic the apparent path of the Sun. The Moon and planets also hang out near that line. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Note:  The original scheduled topic for today was the announcement of a star party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore tomorrow, April 14th.  It seems the weather gods have a different plan.  There’s a winter storm watch from late Friday night (tonight) to noon Sunday with 3-6 inches of slushy snow.


03/05/2018 – Ephemeris – Spring is coming: Leo is rising

March 5, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, March 5th. The Sun will rise at 7:13. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 6:35. The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 10:53 this evening.

The constellation Leo the lion is now rising in the east at 9 pm. It’s below and left of the Big Dipper higher up in the east-northeast. Leo is marked by two sets of easily recognizable stars. The front of him is a backward question mark of stars, also known as the Sickle that mark his head and mane, along with the front part of his body. Regulus is the star at the bottom of that backwards question mark. It’s the Little King Star. The hind end of him is a triangle of stars ending with another bright star, but not as bright as Regulus. It’s Denebola which means Lion’s tail. It is thought when the Sun was in this constellation long ago that the lions were driven by the heat to quench their thirst in the Nile river. Ancients physicians thought medicines were poison when the Sun was here also.

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


The constellation Leo animation

The constellation Leo animation. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Algieba is a binary star, which should be able to be split with any good telescope.  The magnitude 2.4 and 3.6 components are separated by 4.6 arc seconds.  Binary stars are one type of object that benefit from using high power to resolve.  The stars are very close in temperature, so each appears a yellow-orange color offering no color contrast.