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Posts Tagged ‘Cepheus’

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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1122/2016 – Cepheus the king and its one really important star

November 22, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, November 22nd.  The Sun will rise at 7:49.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 18 minutes, setting at 5:08.  The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:56 tomorrow morning.  |  There’s a faint constellation in the north above Polaris.  It’s a nearly upside down church steeple of a constellation called Cepheus the king, and husband of queen Cassiopeia the W shaped constellation right of it.  Cepheus’ claim to astronomical fame is that one of its stars, Delta (δ) Cephei, is the archetype for the important Cepheid variable stars.  Delta is in a trio of stars at the top corner of the constellation, and the one on the right.  In the early 20th century Henrietta Leavitt discovered that Cepheids in the nearby galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud varied in brightness with a period that was related to their average brightness.  This meant that Cepheids could be used as standard candles to measure great distances to other galaxies.

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

Addendum

Cepheus

Cepheus animated finder chart for 8 p.m. November 22, 2016. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Delta Cephei finder chart

Delta Cephei finder chart. This is the same orientation as the chart above, but created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts). A green line points to Delta (δ) Cephei.

A word about star designations in the chart above.  In general only the brightest stars have proper names.  And those usually come from antiquity, and most of those are Arabic.  Star designations which are Greek lower case letters come from Johann Bayer’s Uranometria star atlas from 1603.  He designated the stars by order of brightness.  In constellations with a lot of stars he moved to the Latin alphabet after running out of Greek letters.  These were, of course, naked eye stars; the atlas being produced a few years before the invention of the telescope.  Stars with numbers are Flamsteed designations from John Flamsteed’s 1725 star catalog.  He numbered his stars from west to east in a particular constellation, but only those stars that could be seen from Great Britain.  A single star can have many catalog designations.  For instance the bright star Vega in Lyra the harp is Alpha (α) Lyrae, Bayer designation; 3 Lyrae, Flamsteed designation; HD 172167, Henry Draper catalog; BD +38 3238,  Bonner Durchmusterung, a German catalog; HIP 91262, Hipparcos catalog, and so on.

 

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.

08/18/2015 – Ephemeris – The autumn queen is rising

August 18, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 18th.  The Sun rises at 6:48.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 8:44.   The Moon, half way from new to first quarter, will set at 10:31 this evening.

A look to the northeast at 10 p.m. or later will reveal a letter W pattern of stars.  This is the constellation of Cassiopeia the queen.  Cassiopeia is so far north that it never sets for us in Michigan.  It is opposite the pole star Polaris from the Big Dipper.  So as the Big Dipper is rotating down the sky in the northwest, Cassiopeia is rotating up in the northeast.  The pivot is the star Polaris, the north star.  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 Cassiopeia is a dim church steeple shaped constellation of Cepheus the king.  The Milky Way flows through Cassiopeia and a corner of Cepheus and up through Cygnus, and on to the south.

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

Addendum

Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia and nearby constellations mentioned in the above program. Created using Stellarium.

09/10/2012 – Ephemeris – The constellation Cepheus the king

September 10, 2012 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, September 10th.  The sun will rise at 7:16.  It’ll be up for 12 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 8:01.   The moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 2:25 tomorrow morning.

The stars of autumn are taking over the eastern evening sky as the equinox approaches.  Looking to the northeastern sky at 10 p.m. we find the W shaped constellation of Cassiopeia the queen.  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.  It also lies on the line between the bright star Deneb, the northeastern most star of the Summer Triangle and Polaris.  Cepheus is a king and the husband of the more notorious Cassiopeia.  The Milky Way flows through a corner of Cepheus.  One of its stars is Delta Cephei is the first of a type of variable star that have allowed us to measure distances to the galaxies.

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

Addendum

The constellation Cepheus.  Created using Stellarium.

The constellation Cepheus at 10 p.m. September 10th. Created using Stellarium.

Click image to enlarge.