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10/09/2012 – Ephemeris – Capricornus the sea-goat

October 9, 2012 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, October 9th.  The sun will rise at 7:50.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 16 minutes, setting at 7:07.   The moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 2:16 tomorrow morning.

The sky around 9 p.m. when it gets dark is that of summer stars overhead and to the west while the stars of autumn approach from the east.  The southern terminus of the Milky Way will reach the horizon in the southwest.  The teapot shaped constellation of Sagittarius is tipped as if pouring its contents on the southwestern horizon.  To the south is found the next constellation of the Zodiac Capricornus the sea goat.   Capricornus doesn’t have as bright a stars as Sagittarius.  It looks like the stars trace a sagging triangle.  Capricornus used to be the southernmost constellation of the Zodiac in ancient times, but precession, the slow wobbling of the earth’s axis, has shifted Sagittarius to that position now.

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

Addendum

Capricornus the way I see it.   Created ueing Cartes duCiel

Capricornus the way I see it. Created using Cartes duCiel.

09/27/11 – Ephemeris – The constellation of Capricornus

September 27, 2011 Comments off

Tuesday, September 27th.  The sun will rise at 7:35.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 7:30.  The moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

As the Teapot of the constellation Sagittarius tilts and pours celestial tea on the southwestern horizon, it is followed in the south by the faint constellation of Capricornus the sea goat.  I’m not sure you’ll see a half goat with a fish’s tail here unless you’ve started Oktoberfest a bit early.  To me, it looks like a big sagging triangle with the point down.  Capricornus is a constellation of the zodiac, and its claim to fame is a latitude line on the globe at 23 and a half degrees south, called the Tropic of Capricorn.  Back a couple of thousand years ago the sun entered Capricornus on the first day of winter, the winter solstice.  Thus the latitude where the sun is overhead at that instant was called the Tropic of Capricorn.  Due to the wobble of the earth’s axis, the line should be called the Tropic of Sagittarius.

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

Addendum

Capricornus represented in Cartes du Ciel

Capricornus as represented in Cartes du Ciel

 

Capricornus as represented by Stellarium

Capricornus as represented in Stellarium