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Posts Tagged ‘Canis Major’

02/16/2017 – Ephemeris – The Winter Circle

February 16, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, February 16th.  The Sun will rise at 7:40.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 6:12.  The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 12:17 tomorrow morning.

The winter skies are blessed with more first magnitude stars than any other season.  These are the twenty-one brightest stars in the sky.  Six of these stars lie in a large circle centered on the seventh.  This circle is up all evening now that we are in the heart of winter.  Starting high overhead is Capella in Auriga the charioteer.  Moving clockwise, we come to Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the Bull.  Then down to Orion’s knee we find Rigel.  Down and left is the brightest star of all Sirius the Dog Star in Canis Major Orion’s large hunting dog, lowest of these stars in the south.  Moving up and left there is Procyon in Canis Minor, Then above it is Pollux in Gemini the twins.  All are centered on Betelgeuse in Orion.

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

Addendum

The Winter Circle of 1st magnitude stars

The Winter Circle of 1st magnitude stars. Created using my LookingUp program.

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01/26/2017 – Ephemeris – Is it a dachshund or a hot dog?

January 26, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 26th.  The Sun will rise at 8:07.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 36 minutes, setting at 5:43.  The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:40 tomorrow morning.

The constellation Orion has two hunting dogs.  We’ve seen Canis Major the greater dog at Orion’s feet with Sirius in its heart.  The lesser dog, Canis Minor is level with Betelgeuse in Orion’s shoulder and off to the left.  Just two stars mark it.  Is it a dachshund or is it a hot dog?  You decide.  It’s brighter star’s name is Procyon which means “Before the dog”, an odd title.  It means that though east of Sirius, it rises before Sirius, due to its more northerly position in the sky.  In many ways Procyon is nearly a twin of Sirius.  It shines with the same white color, although a bit cooler, and has a white dwarf companion like Sirius.  It’s a bit farther away than Sirius’ 8 light years.  Procyon is 11 and a half light years away.  Procyon, Betelgeuse and Sirius make the winter triangle.

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

Addendum

Orion and hunting dogs

Procyon and Orion’s hunting dogs animation also showing the Winter Triangle asterism*. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

* Asterism – an informal constellation like the Big Dipper, the Northern Cross, or the Summer Triangle.  Not one of the 88 official constellations.

01/20/2017 – Ephemeris – Orion’s greater hunting dog

January 20, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 20th.  The Sun will rise at 8:12.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 5:35.  The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 2:29 tomorrow morning.

The great winter constellation or star group Orion the Hunter, is located in the south-southeastern sky at 9 p.m.  His elongated rectangle of a torso is almost vertical.  In the center of the rectangle are three stars in a line that make his belt.  As a hunter, especially one of old, he has two hunting dogs.  The larger, Canis Major can be found by following the three belt stars of Orion down and to the left.  There lies the  brilliant star called Sirius, also known as the Dog Star.  It’s in the heart of a stick figure dog low in the southeast facing Orion that appears to be begging.  I’ll have more to say about Sirius in the future, but there’s a fine star cluster, called M41, at the 5 o’clock position from Sirius easily visible in binoculars or a small telescope.

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

Addendum

Orion and Canis Major

Orion and Canis Major Animation for 9 p.m. January 20, 2017. Click on image to enlarge.  Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

 

12/27/2016 – Ephemeris – The stars of Orion

December 27, 2016 2 comments

Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 27th.  The Sun will rise at 8:19.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:09.  The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 7:26 tomorrow morning.

The large and bright constellation of Orion the hunter is in the southeast at 9 p.m., with the bright star Sirius below it near the horizon.  The equally spaced line of three stars of Orion’s belt are nearly vertical and point down to Sirius, also known as the Dog Star in Canis Major, Orion’s greater dog.  The whole of its constellation stars aren’t up at 9 p.m., but they will all clear the horizon by 10 p.m.   Those three belt stars are in the center of an elongated rectangle of stars  At the top left of Orion’s shoulder stars is the red giant star Betelgeuse.  The right shoulder star is Bellatrix.  Both Bellatrix and Sirius along with the names of other stars and constellations should be familiar to fans of the Harry Potter novels and movies, as members of the house of Black.  The knee stars at the bottom of the rectangle are, from left to right Saiph and the brilliant blue giant star Rigel.  Between his belt and knees are stars of his sword.

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

Addendum

Orion

Orion, star names, and constellation art animation position for 9 p.m. December 27. Created using Stellarium and GIMP. Artist: Johan Meuris.

In the image above I’ve added the belt star names, though they are generally covered in a program of their own.

02/08/2016 – Ephemeris – The celestial unicorn

February 8, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 8th.  The Sun will rise at 7:53.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 6:00.  The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn.  It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the southeastern sky at 9 p.m. bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left.  Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of bright stars.  Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore.  It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it.  To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula whose central star cluster can be seen in a telescope but the nebulosity requires a camera to capture and store its light.

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

Addendum

Moniceros the unicorn. Created using Stellarium.

Monoceros the unicorn. Created using Stellarium.

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula in the infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

01/28/2016 – Ephemeris – This post has gone to the dogs

January 28, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 28th.  The Sun will rise at 8:06.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 38 minutes, setting at 5:45.   The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 10:42 this evening.

The great winter constellation or star group Orion the Hunter, is located in the southern sky at 9:30 p.m.  His elongated rectangle of a torso is vertical.  In the center of the rectangle are three stars in a line that make his belt.  As a hunter, especially one of old, he has two hunting dogs.  The larger, Canis Major can be found by following the three belt stars of Orion down and to the left.  There lies the brilliant star called Sirius, also known as the Dog Star.  It’s in the heart of a stick figure dog facing Orion that appears to be begging.  The smaller dog can be found by extending a line through Orion’s shoulder stars to the left.  We find a bright star called Procyon.  It and one other star make up the hot-dog shaped constellation of Canis Minor, the little dog.

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

Addendum

Orion and his hunting dogs

Orion and his hunting dogs revealed in animation. Created with Stellarium and GIMP.

01/25/2016 – Ephemeris – Sirius the Dog Star

January 25, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, January 25th.  The Sun will rise at 8:09.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 31 minutes, setting at 5:41.   The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 7:43 this evening.

While we’re waiting for the bright Moon to leave the evening sky, let’s look at another bright star.  This one is the brightest of all, Sirius the Dog Star.  The Dog Star name comes from its position at the heart of the constellation Canis Major, the great dog of Orion the hunter.  The three stars of Orion’s belt tilt to the southeast and point to Sirius.  The name Sirius means ‘Dazzling One’, a reference to its great brilliance and twinkling.  The Romans thought Sirius added its heat to that of the Sun in summer to bring on the scorching Dog Days of July and August.  Its ancient Egyptian name was Sothis, and its first appearance in the morning twilight in late June signaled the flooding of the Nile, and the beginning of the Egyptian agricultural year.

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

Addendum

Orion's Belt points to Sirius

Orion’s Belt points to Sirius. Created using Stellarium.