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Posts Tagged ‘Auriga’

12/18/2014 – Ephemeris – Capella’s kids

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, December 18th.  The sun will rise at 8:14.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:03.   The moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 5:23 tomorrow morning.

Tuesday I talked about the bright star Capella in the constellation Auriga the charioteer,  the brightest star in the eastern sky until Jupiter rises around 9:30.  I mentioned a slim triangle of stars called the Kids, offspring of the mama goat Capella.  The star at the tip of that slim triangle is designated by the Greek letter epsilon and so in known as Epsilon Aurigae.  It was discovered to be variable in brightness in 1821.  It turns out to be an eclipsing binary, where stars eclipse each other.  Only the period between eclipses is 27 years, and the eclipses last about 2 years.  Typical eclipsing binary stars have periods of days and the eclipses last hours.  The eclipsing star has a large debris ring around it that’s also eclipsing the other star.

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

Addendum

Capella and the Kids

Capella and her kids. at 9 p.m. December 18, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

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12/16/2014 – Ephemeris – Capella, the winter star that won’t set

December 17, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 16th.  The Sun will rise at 8:13.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:03.   The moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:17 tomorrow morning.

The bright star Capella is the only winter star I mention in the summer that still can be seen in the evening.  That’s because it never sets for observers north of Ludington.  It’s a constant reminder that winter is always just around the corner.  Well this week it really is.  It’s the brightest star in the eastern sky at 8 p.m. and for some time thereafter until Jupiter rises.  Capella is in the constellation of Auriga the charioteer, a pentagonal constellation to my eyes.  Capella means, essentially mama goat.  Her three kids are the stars in a thin triangle to her right.  Capella is actually a very close binary star, where the stars are too close to be optically separated.  Breaking up the light with a spectroscope reveals its true nature.

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

Addendum

Capella in Auriga with Taurus

Capella in the constellation of Auriga at 9 p.m. on December 16, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

09/25/2014 – Ephemeris – Capella rising

September 25, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, September 25th.  The sun will rise at 7:33.  It’ll be up for 12 hours and 1 minute, setting at 7:34.   The moon, 1 day past new, will set at 8:13 this evening.

A bright star called Capella has slowly been rising in the northeastern sky in the evenings for the past few months.  At 9 p.m. now it is low in the north-northeast far below the letter “W” shaped constellation of Cassiopeia.  This winter Capella will be overhead the highest of winter’s seven brilliant first magnitude stars.  Capella never quite sets for anyone north of Ludington.  It is what is called a circumpolar star.  Due to its brightness, and being the closest first magnitude star to the north pole, Capella appears to move slowly as the earth rotates, and spends summer and autumn evenings close to the horizon, and has in years past elicited a few phone calls and other queries about that ‘bright object in the northeast’.  When it’s higher the rest of its constellation Auriga the Charioteer will be visible.

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

Addendum

Capella rising

Capella cruising up from the north (thanks to the Earth’s rotation) on September 25 at 9 p.m. Created using Stellarium.

01/24/2014 – Ephemeris – The constellation of Auriga the charioteer

January 24, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 24th.  The sun will rise at 8:09.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 5:40.   The moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 2:37 tomorrow morning.

The constellation Auriga the charioteer is nearly overhead at 9 p.m.  It is a pentagon of stars, with the brilliant star Capella at one of its corners.  Capella represents a she goat he’s carrying.  A narrow triangle of stars nearby Capella is her kids.  The Kids is an informal constellation or asterism.  Within and near that pentagon, binoculars and telescopes will find several star clusters, groups of hundreds of stars born in the clump we still see them in.  These star clusters will appear as fuzzy spots in binoculars.  One called M38 is near the center of the pentagon.  Another, M36 is to the east of it. Still another star cluster, M37, is farther east, just outside the pentagon.  The M designations come from Charles Messier who 2 centuries ago ran into them while looking for comets.

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

Addendum

Auriga

Auriga the charioteer with Taurus below. M38 here is called the Starfish Cluster, a name I am unfamiliar. Created using Stellarium.

12/09/2013 – Ephemeris – The bright star Capella, the she-goat

December 9, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, December 9th.  The sun will rise at 8:07.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 5:02, the earliest sunset of the year.   The moon, at first quarter today, will set at 1:12 tomorrow morning.

A bright star called Capella is now high in the east.  Capella is the farthest north of winter’s seven brilliant first magnitude stars.  Capella never quite sets for anyone north of Ludington.  Due to its brightness, and being the closest first magnitude star to the pole, Capella appears to move slowly as the earth rotates, and spends summer and autumn evenings close to the horizon and is a reminder that winter’s not far away.  It has in years past elicited a few phone calls and other queries about that ‘bright object in the northeast’.  Capella belongs to the pentagonal constellation of Auriga the Charioteer.  Capella represents a mother goat he is holding.  Three stars in a thin triangle nearby to the star’s right are her kids.

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

Addendum

The Constellations Cassiopeia, Perseus and Auriga. Cartes du Ciel

The Constellations Cassiopeia, Perseus and Auriga. Created using Cartes du Ciel

Note the small slender triangle of stars under the “p” in Capella.  That’s the Kids, an asterism or informal constellation.

Categories: Constellations, stars Tags: ,

11/16/2012 – Ephemeris – Capella the winter that doesn’t set (around here)

November 16, 2012 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, November 16th.  The sun will rise at 7:41.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 5:13.   The moon, 3 days past new, will set at 8:11 this evening.

Midway up the sky in the east northeast at 9 p.m. You will find the bright star Capella.  It is above and left of the bright planet Jupiter.  Capella is located at one corner of a pentagon of stars that is the constellation Auriga the Charioteer.  Capella represents a little she goat, while a slim triangle of stars are her kids.  That triangle is known as the Kids.  Capella is circumpolar for locations north of Ludington, meaning that this winter star doesn’t set, even in summer.  Capella is a close binary star of stars with the same color as the sun, but much brighter.  They orbit each other in 104 days.  It looks like a single star in most telescopes.  Spotting it low on the northern horizon at midnight in July is a reminder that winter will come soon enough.

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

Addendum

Capella in Auriga with the Kids at 9 p.m. on November 16, 2012.  Created using Stellarium.

Capella in Auriga with the Kids at 9 p.m. on November 16, 2012. Created using Stellarium.

Categories: Constellations, stars Tags: , ,

11/22/11 – Ephemeris – The constellation Auriga the charioteer

November 22, 2011 1 comment

Tuesday, November 22nd.  The sun will rise at 7:47.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 20 minutes, setting at 5:08.   The moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 5:51 tomorrow morning.

Rising in the east northeast is the bright star Capella and its pentagonal constellation Auriga the Charioteer.  Auriga appears to be hunched down in his chariot carrying 4 goats.  Capella is the mother goat, and a slim triangle of stars near her are her kids.  Perhaps the kids in the chariot were such a distraction that he crashed.  So maybe the gods placed them in the sky as a warning.   In fact that triangle is an asterism widely known as the Kids.  The Milky Way runs through Auriga and it is the home of several star clusters that appear as fuzzy spots in binoculars.  Capella for us in northern Michigan never sets.  It is a winter star that can be seen year round.  It’s disconcerting to spot it scraping the northern horizon in July.

* Times, as always are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.

Addendum

The Constellations Cassiopeia, Perseus and Auriga. Cartes du Ciel

The Constellations Cassiopeia, Perseus and Auriga. Cartes du Ciel