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Posts Tagged ‘Coma Berenices’

04/18/2017 – Ephemeris – How Queen Berenice lost her hair

April 18, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 18th.  The Sun rises at 6:52.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 38 minutes, setting at 8:31.  The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 3:04 tomorrow morning.

High in the east-southeast at 10 p.m. is the tiny and faint constellation of Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s Hair.  In it are lots of faint stars that look like several strands of hair.  The whole group will fit in the field of a pair of binoculars, which will also show many more stars.  The star cluster is 280 light years away, nearly twice as far as the Hyades, the face of Taurus the Bull setting in the west.  The story behind it was that Berenice was the Queen of Egypt, whose husband was away at war.  She offered her golden tresses to the gods for the king’s safe return.  The hair, was placed in a temple.  However the offering disappeared when the king returned.  Ever since the constellation of Coma Berenices has been seen to commemorate the queen’s sacrifice.

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

Coma Berenices finder chart

Coma Berenices finder chart for 10 p.m. April 18, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Coma Berenices

Approximate 7 power binocular field of view of the Coma Berenices Cluster. Created using Carted du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Addendum

04/05/2016 – Ephemeris – Coma Berenices, the second closest star cluster

April 5, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 5th.  The Sun will rise at 7:15.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 1 minute, setting at 8:16.   The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:53 tomorrow morning.

Midway up the sky in the east at 10 p.m. is a tiny sprinkle of faint stars arrayed to look like several strands of hair.  It’s the constellation of Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s hair.  The whole group will fit in the field of a pair of binoculars, which is the best way to see it, and will also show more stars.  The cluster contains about 50 stars and lies at a distance of 280 light years from us, which makes it the second closest star cluster.  The closest being the Hyades, that is the face of Taurus the bull now about to set in the west.  The star cluster appears to be about 480 million years old.  It is an open or galactic star cluster, born along the plane of the Milky Way.  It appears away from the milky band due to its proximity to us.

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

Addendum

Coma Berenices Finder

Coma Berenices finder chart 10 p.m., April 5, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Coma Berenices binocular view

Coma Berenices as it might look in a pair of binoculars. Telescopes are too powerful. Created using Stellarium.

05/08/2015 – Ephemeris – May’s missing Milky Way

May 8, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, May 8th.  Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 8:55.   The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 1:08 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the Sun will rise at 6:22.

In May we look up to the sky and notice that the Milky Way is missing.  Will not really it’s as if the sky has pattern baldness with the Milky Way as a fringe on the horizon around the north half of the sky.  Overhead, where none should be is a galactic star cluster, a star cluster that should normally be in the Milky band.  That cluster is the constellation of Coma Berenices.  Its is a sparse star cluster of about 50 stars only 288 light years away.  If we were a thousand light years from it, it would appear in the Milky band.  One notes too that the stars of spring are also fewer, not the riot of stars we see in the winter or late summer.  The Milky Way galaxy is a thin disk, and in spring we are looking out the thin side.

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

Addendum

May 2015 Star Chart

Star Chart for May 2015. Note the Milky way in the north.  The Coma Berenices cluster is located between the labels CnV and Com.  Created using my LookingUp program.

Messier objects  in the spring sky.

Messier objects, mostly galaxies (ovals) in the spring sky. Created using my LookingUp program.

Most of the galaxies in the above chart belong to the Virgo Cluster a cluster of several thousand galaxies about 53 million light years away.  Charles Messier was a comet hunter active in the period around the time of the American Revolution at the Paris Observatory.  He made a catalog of fuzzy objects he ran into that didn’t move and thus were not comets.  The Messier catalog, which ran to 110 galaxies, star clusters and nebulae, some added posthumously, became a must-see list of some of the best sights for the telescope.

4/16/2015 – Ephemeris – A constellation commemorating a real person

April 16, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, April 16th.  The Sun rises at 6:57.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 31 minutes, setting at 8:28.   The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:19 tomorrow morning.

Half way up the sky in the east-southeast at 10 p.m. is a tiny and faint constellation of Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s hair.  In it are lots of faint stars arrayed to look like several strands of hair.  The whole group will fit in the field of a pair of binoculars, which will also show many more stars.  The story behind it was that Berenice was a real Queen of Egypt, whose husband was away at war.  This was in the days when the Greeks ruled Egypt after Alexander conquered it.  She offered her golden tresses to the gods for the king’s safe return.  The hair, was placed in a temple.  However the offering disappeared when the king returned.  Ever since then the constellation of Coma Berenices has been seen to commemorate the queen’s sacrifice.

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

Addendum

Coma Berinices

Coma Berenices and neighboring constellations at 10 p.m. on April 16, 2015. Note that only the upper right star of the upside down L shape actually belongs to the cluster. Created using Stellarium.

04/18/2014 – Ephemeris – The constellation Coma Berenices

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Good Friday, Friday, April 18th.  The sun rises at 6:53.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 37 minutes, setting at 8:31.   The moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 12:21 tomorrow morning.

High in the southeast at 10 p.m. is a tiny and faint constellation of Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s hair.  In it are lots of faint stars arrayed to look like several strands of hair.  The whole group will fit in the field of a pair of binoculars, which will also show many more stars.  The hank of hair was supposed to belong to Berenice, Queen of Egypt, of the 3rd century BCE.  Coma Berenices is the second closest star cluster to us at only 250 light years away, after the Hyades, the face of Taurus the bull now setting in the west.  It’s in an odd spot for a galactic star cluster, that’s supposed to lie in the plane of the Milky Way.  It actually lies at the galactic pole.  That’s an illusion because it’s so close to us.  It’s still really in the plane of the Milky Way.

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

Addendum

Coma Berenices finder chart

Coma Berenices finder chart for 10 p.m. April 18, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Coma Berenices and the galactic pole

Coma Berenices and galactic coordinates showing how close to the galactic pole it is. Created using Cartes du Ciel

Milky Way and open clusters

Mercator projection of the Milky Way and some bright open or galactic clusters (brown disks). See how the distribution hugs the milky band. Clusters farther away are either close to us or very old for open clusters. Created using Cartes du Ciel.

05/07/2013 – Ephemeris – Berenice’s celestial hairdo

May 7, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 7th.  The sun rises at 6:24.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 8:54.   The moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:33 tomorrow morning.

High in the south southeast at 10 p.m. is a tiny and faint constellation of Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s hair.  In it are lots of faint stars arrayed to look like several strands of hair.  The whole group will fit in the field of a pair of binoculars, which will also show many more stars.  The story behind it was that Berenice was the Queen of Egypt, whose husband was away at war.  This was in the days when the Greeks ruled Egypt after Alexander conquered it.  She offered her golden tresses to the gods for the king’s safe return.  The hair, was placed in a temple.  However the offering disappeared when the king returned.  Ever since then the constellation of Coma Berenices has been seen to commemorate the queen’s sacrifice.

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

Addendum

Coma Berenices via Stellarium

Coma Berenices via Stellarium

04/17/2012 – Ephemeris – The constellation of Coma Berenices as a star cluster

April 17, 2012 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 17th.  The sun rises at 6:54.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 36 minutes, setting at 8:30.   The moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 5:23 tomorrow morning.

Looking to the southeast these nights can be found the dim constellation of Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s hair.  It’s located about half way from the horizon to the zenith.  It’s best seen on a moonless night as a sprinkling of faint stars that look like strands of hair.  It is a star cluster some 270 light years away, the second closest star cluster to the earth, the closest being the Hyades the marks the face of Taurus the bull, at about 153 light years, which is below, left of Venus tonight in the west.  Coma Berenices is located at an odd spot for an open or galactic star cluster.  It’s at the pole of the milky way, as far from the milky band as you can get.  Most galactic star clusters are close or in that band.  However due to its closeness Coma Berenices is abreast of us. as we orbit the center of the Milky Way.

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

Addendum

Coma Berenices via Stellarium

Coma Berenices via Stellarium

Only one star of the three denote the constellation is part of the Coma Berenices star cluster, which appears to trail from the top star.