Posts Tagged ‘First magnitude stars’

03/29/2016 – Ephemeris – The Little King Star, Regulus

March 29, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, March 29th.  The Sun will rise at 7:28.  It’ll be up for 12 hours and 39 minutes, setting at 8:07.   The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 2:00 tomorrow morning.

Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation of Leo the lion at the bottom of the backward question mark that is the head and mane of Leo. It’s in the southeast at 9 p.m. above the much brighter Planet Jupiter.   Alluding to the lion’s status in the animal kingdom, Regulus is the little king star.  It is dead last in order of brightness of the 21 brightest first magnitude stars, 1/13th the brightness of Sirius the brightest star low in the southwest at the same time.  To the Babylonians it was the king, the 15th of their constellations that marked the passage of the sun.  Regulus is about 79 light years away, and 288 times the brightness of the sun.  It is a rapidly spinning ellipsoid 3  times the sun’s diameter, rotating in just under 16 hours.

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


Regulus and Jupiter in the constellation of Leo

Regulus and Jupiter in the constellation of Leo at 10 p.m., March 29, 2016. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).


11/20/2015 – Ephemeris – Finding the bright stars of November

November 20, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, November 20th.  The Sun will rise at 7:46.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 24 minutes, setting at 5:10.   The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 2:17 tomorrow morning.

The Moon is beginning to brighten up the sky making constellation spotting somewhat difficult, so I thought we’d look for the brightest stars.  High in the west are the three stars of the Summer Triangle.  At the bottom in the southwest is Altair, the first of these to set.  A bit north of west the brightest, Vega.  Highest in the west is Deneb, which won’t officially set for those Interlochen northward.  Low in the south is the loneliest star Fomalhaut.  In the northeast is the winter star Capella, which also doesn’t set for the IPR listener area, but spends summer nights hiding behind hills and trees in the north.  Low in the east is the last of our bright stars, Aldebaran in Taurus the bull, which will be playing hide and seek with the Moon next week.

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


Autumn bright stars

The bright first magnitude stars of autumn shown for 8 p.m. November 20, 2015. If you are closer to your time meridian, we’re 43 minutes behind ours, you will see two more bright stars in the east: Red Betelgeuse and blue-white Rigel. Created using Stellarium.