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Posts Tagged ‘Binoculars’

12/07/2021 – Ephemeris – This is the best week to view Comet Leonard

December 7, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 5:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:07. The Moon, halfway from new to first quarter, will set at 8:43 this evening.

The evening sky between 5:45 and 7 pm will feature Venus, the crescent Moon, with dim Saturn above it and Jupiter all in the southwestern sky. Saturn will appear dim, only in the early part of that period, due to bright twilight. Saturn is about midway between Venus and Jupiter. In the morning sky, Comet Leonard continues to fall inward toward the Sun. It’s passing relatively close to the Earth, now about 29 million miles. It will pass its closest to on Sunday at about 21 million miles, at which time we’ll have a hard time spotting it in morning twilight. Comet Leonard will stay barely bright enough to spot in dark skies by really sharp-eyed observers without binoculars or a telescope. The rest of us will need optical aid.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT – 5 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Comet Leonard finder 12/08/21 6:30 am

Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1) finder chart for 6:30 am, December 8, 2021. The comet’s tail may not be visible visually. The comet’s head, what astronomers call a coma, may appear as a large fuzzy spot. At that time it will be 26.7 million miles away, and will come within 21.7 million miles at its closest to us on the 12th. Created using Stellarium.

Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1) in the morning

Comet Leonard’s positions at 6:30 am on the dates indicated. The labels are Month-Day Total Magnitude. The star’s position relative to the horizon and the position of Mars are for November 27th. The star field will be shifting to the upper right each morning at 6:30 from the November 27th date at 6:30. Comets always appear dimmer than their magnitude suggests because they are extended objects, not points like stars. Also, comet magnitudes can be unpredictable. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts). I’ve reversed the colors from previous printings of this image. Reprinted from my article in the Stellar Sentinel, the newsletter for the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society.

01/28/2021 – Ephemeris – Checking out the full Moon in binoculars

January 28, 2021 1 comment

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, January 28th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 40 minutes, setting at 5:46, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:04. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 5:37 this evening.

The winter full moon rises very high in the sky. It follows a path across the sky at night that the Sun will take six months from now in July. On the full moon with binoculars or small telescope most craters are not very visible due to the lack of shadows. There are exceptions, those with dark or bright floors. The lunar seas are the large dark areas. These positions are for the early evening, as the Moon rises. Grimaldi can be seen as a dark ellipse near the lower left edge. Plato another dark ellipse is in the upper left. A bright spot with a darker circle around it on the lower right is the crater Tycho, which has several rays of ejecta laid out over long distances across the face of the Moon. Finally, there’s a bright spot on the left side of the Moon. That is the crater Aristarchus.

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

Addendum

Annotated full Moon

Annotated full Moon. Major seas in upper case. Prominent craters in lower case. See text below. The image is rotated for 8 pm in late January. Credit Bob Moler.

Lunar seas

A – Mare Crisium (Sea of Crises)
B – Mare Fecunditatus (Sea of Fertility)
C – Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility)
D – Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity)
E – Mare Imbrium (Sea of Showers)
F – Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms)
G – Mare Nubium (Sea of Clouds)
H – Mare Humorum (Sea of Moisture)
I – Mare Nectaris (Sea of Nectar)

Craters

a – Grimaldi
b – Plato
c – Tycho
d – Aristarchus
e – Copernicus (Not mentioned in the program due to time constraints)

08/22/2016 – Ephemeris – The glorious summer Milky Way

August 22, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, August 22nd.  The Sun rises at 6:54.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 42 minutes, setting at 8:36.  The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:11 this evening.

We’ll get a bit of darkness tonight, but it will be the start of about two weeks of the best sky viewing of the year.  Now is the time the summer Milky Way is displayed to its fullest to the southern horizon.  City folk come to our area and are sometimes fooled by the brightness and expanse of the Milky Way and think it’s clouding up.  Yes those are clouds indeed, but they are star clouds.  Binoculars will begin to show them to be millions of stars, each too faint to be seen by themselves to the unaided eye, but whose combined glow give the impression of a luminous cloud.  Binoculars are the ideal tool to begin to explore the Milky Way.  Objects still too fuzzy can be checked out with a telescope to reveal their true nature.

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

Addendum

Milky Way

The Milky Way from the Sleeping Bear Dunes last August by Mark Stewart.

Note that this photo shows the Milky Way as brighter and with more stars than you’d see with the naked eye.

01/13/2015 – Ephemeris – How to find Comet Lovejoy

January 13, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 13th.  The sun will rise at 8:17.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 5:25.   The moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 2:03 tomorrow morning.

A new comet has entered the evening sky for northern hemisphere observers.  It is best seen in binoculars as a fuzzy blob.  Photographs reveals a green comet with a faint wispy tail.  It was discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy.  It’s his 5th comet.  Tonight the comet is located in line with the bottom side of the letter V of stars, the head of Taurus the bull,  The V is lying on its side and to the right by the width of a fist held at arm’s length will be the fuzzy ball of the head of the comet.  Charts for finding the comet can be found on my blog at bobmoler.wordpress.com today and also every Wednesday for the next month or so.  Photographs of this beautiful comet can be found on space.com and spaceweather.com among other websites.

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

Addendum

Comet Lovejoy

Finding Comet Lovejoy at 9 p.m., January 13, 2015. created using Cartes du Ceil (Sky Charts).  Click on image to enlarge.

Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy taken by Jan Curtis on January 11, 2015 @ Near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Found on http://www.spaceweather.com. Great photo Jan.  Click on image to enlarge.

08/18/2014 – Ephemeris – Scanning the Milky Way in Scutum

August 18, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, August 18th.  The sun rises at 6:48.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 8:43.   The moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:37 tomorrow morning.

The teapot pattern of stars that is the constellation of Sagittarius lies at the southern end of the Milky Way this evening. It appears that the Milky Way is steam rising from the spout.  The area above Sagittarius in the brightest part of the Milky Way is the dim constellation of Scutum the shield.  Don’t bother looking for the stars that make up the constellation; what’s important is the star clouds of the Milky Way.  Scan this area with binoculars or small telescope for star clusters and nebulae or clouds of gas.  In binoculars both clusters and nebulae will appear fuzzy, but a small telescope will tell most of them apart.  Even if you’ve never been able to find anything in your telescope, use your lowest power and scan.

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

Addendum

The constellations Sagittarius and Scutum. Created using Stellarium.

The constellations Sagittarius and Scutum. Created using Stellarium.