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Posts Tagged ‘Capella’

11/09/2017 – Ephemeris – Cassiopeia the queen and her husband

November 9, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, November 9th. The Sun will rise at 7:31. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:20. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 10:59 this evening.

The stars of the autumn skies hold forth now, but one prominent autumn constellation never leaves us, here in northern Michigan. Look high in the northeastern sky by 8 p.m. and you can find the W shaped constellation of Cassiopeia the queen. It is opposite the pole star Polaris from the Big Dipper, slinking low in the north-northwest. There’s a dim star that appears above the middle star of the W which turns the W into a very crooked backed chair. Above and left of Cassiopeia is a dim upside down church steeple shaped constellation of Cepheus the king. The Milky Way flows through a corner of Cepheus and Cassiopeia toward the northeastern horizon and through the constellation of Perseus the hero, and the bright star Capella in Auriga the Charioteer.

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

Addendum

Cassiopeia and friends

Cassiopeia and constellations along the Milky Way in the northeast these autumn evenings. (8 p.m. November 9, 2017). Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

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09/07/2017 – Ephemeris – Capella rising

September 7, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, September 7th. The Sun will rise at 7:12. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 8:07. The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 9:08 this evening.

For those with the advantage of a low northern horizon, will see a bright star moving nearly parallel above the horizon over the evening hours or notice its change in position from night to night, moving to the northeast. The star is Capella, northernmost of the bright winter stars. It never quite sets for locations north of the latitude of Ludington (44° N), meaning it’s circumpolar like the Big Dipper. It’s slow motion, due to its position close to the north pole of the sky sometimes makes it seem odd. I’ve gotten several calls about it over the years. Capella is the brightest star in the constellation Auriga the charioteer, a constellation I see as a pentagon, with a small triangle of three stars on one side. I’ll wait until the winter season to talk further about them.

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

Addendum

Capella rising

Capella appearing to rise like an aircraft taking off. Shown here at hourly intervals from 9 p.m. to midnight. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

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.

12/19/2016 – Ephemeris – OK kids, do I have to turn this chariot around

December 19, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, December 19th.  The Sun will rise at 8:16.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:04.  The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 11:44 this evening.

The constellation Auriga the charioteer is half way up the sky in the east at 8 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 are her kids, 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 below it. Still another star cluster, M37, is farther below still.  The M designations come from Charles Messier who two 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 the Charioteer

Auriga the charioteer with Capella and the Kids at 8 p.m. December 19, 2016. The object named the Starfish Cluster is M38. To the right is Taurus the bull with the Hyades, his face and above the Pleiades in his shoulder. Created using Stellarium and edited with GIMP. Click on the image to enlarge.

12/06/2016 – Ephemeris – Capella the northernmost first magnitude star

December 6, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 6th.  The Sun will rise at 8:05.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 5:02.  The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 12:08 tomorrow morning.

A bright star called Capella has slowly been rising in the northeastern sky in the evenings for the past few months.  At 8 p.m. now it is low in the east-northeast to the upper left of Orion, rising in the east.  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.  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 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.

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

Addendum

Capella

The star Capella with the other stars and constellations of Winter rising in the east. Created using Stellarium.

10/03/2016 – Ephemeris – Cassiopeia the celestial queen, and a look at Venus with the Moon

October 3, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, October 3rd.  The Sun will rise at 7:43.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 7:18.  The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 8:55 this evening.

The stars of autumn are in the northeastern to southeastern part of the evening sky.  Look half way up the sky in the northeast at 9 p.m. and you can find the W shaped constellation of Cassiopeia the queen.  Cassiopeia never sets for us in Michigan.  It is opposite the pole star Polaris from the Big Dipper.    Above Cassiopeia is a dim church steeple shaped constellation of Cepheus the king.  The steeple is toppled to the left.  The Milky Way flows through Cassiopeia and through a corner of Cepheus to the bright star Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, or Northern Cross, overhead. Below Cassiopeia it flows through the constellation of Perseus the hero, which kind of looks like a chicken, to the bright star Capella near the horizon.

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

Addendum

The crescent Moon will appear above Venus tonight.

Venus and the Moon

Looking very low in the west-southwest at 7:38 p.m., 20 minutes after sunset, October 3, 2016. The thin crescent Moon will appear about 4 degrees 15 minutes (8 1/2 moon diameters) above Venus. Created using Stellarium.

Cassiopeia and the Milky Way

Cassiopeia with Cepheus, Cygnus and Perseus in the Milky Way in the northeastern sky. Created using Stellarium.

02/12/2016 – Ephemeris – A circle of bright stars in winter

February 12, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, February 12th.  The Sun will rise at 7:48.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 18 minutes, setting at 6:06.   The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 11:19 this evening.

The winter skies are blessed with more first magnitude stars than any other season.  With the moon out these stars will stand out even more, as dimmer stars are suppressed.  Six of these stars lie in a large circle centered on the seventh, the Winter Circle.

This circle is up at 9 p.m.  Starting high nearly overhead is Capella in Auriga the charioteer.  Moving clockwise down to the south, 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 in Canis Major Orion’s large hunting dog, lowest of these stars in the southeast.  Moving up and left there is Procyon in Canis Minor,  Above is Pollux in Gemini the twins.  All are centered on Betelgeuse the bright red star in Orion’s shoulder.

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

Addendum

Winter Circle

The bright stars of winter arrayed in a circle. Created using Stellarium.

Some also see a Winter Triangle consisting of the stars Betelgeuse, Sirius and Procyon.