Posts Tagged ‘Jade Rabbit’

10/04/2017 – Ephemeris – Where are the bright planets tonight?

October 4, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Wednesday, October 4th. The Sun will rise at 7:44. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 7:17. The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 7:21 tomorrow morning.

Let’s take our weekly look at the bright planets. Jupiter, for all intents and purposes is gone from the evening sky. It will cross into the morning sky later this month. Saturn too is sinking lower in the southwestern sky in the evening. Saturn’s rings are still spectacular in telescopes, but since Saturn is so low in the sky the turbulence of the thick atmosphere makes Saturn fuzzy and seemingly to go in and out of focus. Saturn will set at 10:43 p.m.

In the morning sky, brilliant Venus will rise at 5:11 a.m. in the east with much dimmer Mars below and right of it by half the width of the Moon. Mars is less than 100th the brightness of Venus, and will probably require binoculars to locate. (need a few words more)

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


Saturn and the Moon in the evening

Saturn and the Moon in the evening at 8 p.m. October 4, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Saturn and moons

Saturn and its brightest moons overnight October 4/5, 2017. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Binocular Moon

The Moon as it might be seen in binoculars, 8 p.m. October 4, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society and I are invited to the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival being held for the Chinese exchange students in the Traverse City school system.  Its held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, the full moon, which works out to be October 4th this year.  They will be having Chinese food and viewing the Moon afterward.

One of the legends celebrated then will be the Jade Rabbit pounding medicine.  Jade Rabbit (Yutu) is the name of the Chinese rover that’s on the Moon.  And the Jade Rabbit can actually be seen on the Moon:

Jade Rabbit on the Moon

Jade Rabbit and Mortar on the Moon. Credit: Zeimusu, Creative Commons.

I hope they have Moon Cakes.  They sound yummy.

A closeup of Venus and Mars

A closeup of Venus and Mars at 6:30 a.m. October 5, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on October 4, 2017. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 5th. The full Moon has fallen in the cracks between the sunset and sunrise charts due to its position south of the ecliptic. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.


12/17/2013 – Ephemeris – The Chinese have landed a rover on the Moon

December 17, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 17th.  The sun will rise at 8:14.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:03.   The moon, at full today, will rise at 5:45 this evening.

Over the weekend the Chinese landed a spacecraft on the moon with a rover.  The spacecraft was Chang’E 3 and the third of their successful lunar spacecraft.  Name after an ancient moon goddess it deposited a rover named Yutu, or Jade Rabbit named for the goddess’ pet rabbit.  The aim point was to be the beautiful Bay of Rainbows or Sinus Iridium, but it landed just outside it in Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Showers.  Some astronomers think that the actual landing spot is more interesting mineralogically speaking than the original aim point.  Both Chang’E and Yutu are solar powered  and it’s difficult to see them surviving the two-week lunar night,  Night will fall on the site on December 25th or 26th.  Give the Chinese credit though for a flawless landing.

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


Chang’E 3 as seen from the Yutu rover.  There’s a lot more pictures and information from Emily Lakdawalla’s Planetary Society Blog, where I got this picture link from.