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Posts Tagged ‘Monoceros’

02/24/2022 – Ephemeris – The celestial unicorn

February 24, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, February 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 6:23, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:27. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 3:57 tomorrow morning.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn. It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the south-southeastern sky at 8 p.m. mostly bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left and above. Unfortunately for observers without a telescope, Monoceros, is devoid of any but the faintest stars. Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore. It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it. To the telescopic observer and astrophotographer it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birthplace of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula* (NGC 2237), and Hagrid’s Dragon Cluster (NGC 2301), which sounds suspiciously like it was recently, and unofficially, named. Monoceros also contains a beautiful telescopic triple star system, Beta (β) Monocerotis.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT – 5 hours). They may be different for your location.

* The Rosette nebula surrounds the star cluster NGC 2244. This sparse star cluster is visible visually in telescopes. I’ve never been able to spot the nebula in a telescope, but it shows up, faintly, in my wide angle photographs of the area.

Addendum

Deep Sky Objects around Monoceros

Deep Sky Objects in and around Monoceros. Deep Sky Objects are telescopic objects that lie beyond the solar system. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula in the infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

The brighter stars of NGC 2301 (Hagrid’s Dragon Cluster, AKA Great Bird Cluster and Copeland’s Golden Worm). It’s also in two other catalogs: Cr 119 and Mel 54. Created using Stellarium and GIMP. The dragon image is from “Dragon Flying Cycle” on YouTube by Simon Hussey.

Beta Monocerotis

Telescopic Beta Monocerotis. William Hershel, discoverer of Uranus, said that it was “One of the most beautiful sights in the heavens.” Credit: F. Ringwald, Fresno State.

02/22/2022 – Ephemeris – The Winter Triangle

February 22, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, February 22nd. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 6:21, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:30. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 1:26 tomorrow morning.

I’ve talked about the Winter Circle of bright stars already this winter, but some other astronomers talk about the Winter Triangle. The stars involved are Betelgeuse in the hunter Orion, Sirius in Canis Major, Orion’s large hunting dog, and Procyon in Canis Minor, his other small hunting dog. These three stars enclose a rather blank piece of sky with the faint Milky Way running through it and the almost invisible constellation of Monoceros the unicorn. The Summer Triangle has three bright stars with no other close competition. The Winter Triangle has four other bright stars near it. Any three of these would make a nice triangle. One of these constellations, Canis Minor, is tiny with Procyon and one other star. It makes me think of a dachshund, or maybe, if I’m hungry, a hot dog.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT -5 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Winter Triangle

The Winter Triangle. It encloses a pretty blank space where Monoceros the unicorn lies. Created using Stellarium with my annotations for the Winter Triangle.

022/21/2020 – Ephemeris – The almost invisible unicorn

February 21, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, February 21st. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 44 minutes, setting at 6:19, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:32. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 7:27 tomorrow morning.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn. It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the southern sky at 9 p.m. bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left. Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of any but the faintest stars. Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore. It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it. To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula, and the strange and tiny Hubble’s Variable Nebula. It contains no bright stars, but a wealth of wonders below naked eye visibility.

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

Addendum

Monoceros the unicorn

Monoceros the unicorn seen mostly inside the Winter Triangle of Betelgeuse, Sirius and Procyon. Note the star in the unicorn’s right hoof denoted with a funny B. That’s Beta Monocerotis,a triple star visible in small telescopes. Created using Stellarium with additions.

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula in the infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

Hubble's Variable Nebula

Hubble’s Variable Nebula photographed appropriately enough by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI).

Beta Monocerotis

Telescopic Beta Monocerotis. William Hershel, discoverer of Uranus, said that it was “One of the most beautiful sights in the heavens.” Credit: F. Ringwald, Fresno State.

02/20/2020 – Ephemeris – The Winter Triangle

February 20, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, February 20th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 41 minutes, setting at 6:17, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:34. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 6:53 tomorrow morning.

I usually talk about the Winter Circle of bright stars, but some other astronomers talk about the Winter Triangle. The stars involved are Betelgeuse in the hunter Orion, Sirius in Canis Major, Orion’s large hunting dog, and Procyon in Canis Minor, his other small hunting dog. These three stars enclose a rather blank piece of sky with the faint Milky Way running through it and the equally invisible constellation of Monoceros the unicorn. The Summer Triangle has three bright stars with no other close competition. The Winter Triangle has 4 other bright stars near it. Any three of these would make a nice triangle. One of these stars, Betelgeuse has been the news recently because it is dimming to an unprecedented degree.

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

Addendum

Winter Triangle

The Winter Triangle. It enclose a pretty blank space where Monoceros the unicorn lies. Created using Stellarium with my annotations for the Winter Triangle. By the way, Betelgeuse is currently only as bright as Bellatrix, the star next to the “n” in Orion.

02/06/2018 – Ephemeris – Monoceros the Unicorn

February 6, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, February 6th. The Sun will rise at 7:55. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 2 minutes, setting at 5:58. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 1:09 tomorrow morning.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn. It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the southeastern sky at 9 p.m. bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left. Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of any but the faintest stars. Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore. It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it. To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula, and the strange and tiny Hubble’s Variable Nebula. It also contains beautiful telescopic triple star system, Beta (β) Monocerotis.

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

Addendum

Monoceros

Monoceros finder chart animation. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula in the infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

Hubble's Variable Nebula

Hubble’s Variable Nebula photographed appropriately enough by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI).

Monoceros DSO finder chart

Looking at some faint objects in Monoceros. NGC 2239 is the star cluster in the center of the Rosette Nebula. The nebula itself is extremely faint. It shows in photographs, but I’ve never seen it visually. The green circle shows Beta Monocerotis, the triple star. All these stars are extremely blue-white hot. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Also in the chart above is the semicircular Barnard’s Loop, a supernova remnant a great long exposure photography target.

 

01/30/2017 – Ephemeris – Can you really see a unicorn?

January 30, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, January 30th.  The Sun will rise at 8:03.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 5:49.  The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 8:58 this evening.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn.  It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the southern sky at 9 p.m. bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left.  Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of any but the faintest stars.  Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore.  It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it.  To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula, and the strange and tiny Hubble’s Variable Nebula.  It contains no bright stars, but a wealth of wonders below naked eye visibility.

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

Addendum

Monoceros

Monoceros finder chart animation. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula in the infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech.

I’ve never seen it visually through a telescope.  However the inner star cluster, NGC 2244 is visible.  The nebula is NGC 2239.

Hubble's Variable Nebula

Hubble’s Variable Nebula NGC 2261 photographed appropriately enough by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI).

Cone Nebula

Another nebula: The Cone Nebula, NGC 2264, as seen with the Hubble Space Telescope. Kind of looks like eggs in an eagle’s nest Credit ESA/Hubble.

The mentioned NGC objects can be found with a good star atlas or the free program Cartes du Ciel via the link on the right.

 

02/08/2016 – Ephemeris – The celestial unicorn

February 8, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 8th.  The Sun will rise at 7:53.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 6:00.  The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn.  It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the southeastern sky at 9 p.m. bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left.  Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of bright stars.  Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore.  It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it.  To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula whose central star cluster can be seen in a telescope but the nebulosity requires a camera to capture and store its light.

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

Addendum

Moniceros the unicorn. Created using Stellarium.

Monoceros the unicorn. Created using Stellarium.

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula in the infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

02/17/2015 – Ephemeris – There are no unicorns except in the heavens

February 17, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Fat Tuesday, Tuesday, February 17th.  The sun will rise at 7:40.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 6:13.   The moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:07 tomorrow morning.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn.  It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the southeastern sky at 9 p.m. bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left.  Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of any but the faintest stars.  Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore.  It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it.  To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula, and the strange and tiny Hubble’s Variable Nebula.  It contains no bright stars, but it has wonders for the telescope.

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

Addendum

Monoceros

The constellation Monoceros the unicorn. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).  Click to enlarge.

Can you see a unicorn here?  Me neither.

One thing I didn’t mention in the program is the star labeled β.  It is a triple star in telescopes.

Universe Today has a great post on Monoceros  by Tammy Plotner, who by sad coincidence passed away a few days ago.

02/03/2014 – Ephemeris – Why we don’t see unicorns anymore

February 3, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 3rd.  The sun will rise at 7:58.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 5:54.   The moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 10:58 this evening.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn.  It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the southern sky at 9 p.m. bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left.  Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of any but the faintest stars.  Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore.  It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it.  To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula, and the strange and tiny Hubble’s Variable Nebula.  It contains no bright stars, but a wealth of wonders below the surface so to speak.

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

Addendum

Moniceros the unicorn. Created using Stellarium.

Moniceros the unicorn. See really, really dim stars.  Created using Stellarium.

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula in the infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

Hubble's Variable Nebula

Hubble’s Variable Nebula photographed appropriately enough by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI).

Cone Nebula

Another nebula: The Cone Nebula as seen with the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit ESA/Hubble

 

 

 

 

02/04/2013 – Ephemeris – The celestial unicorn

February 4, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 4th.  The sun will rise at 7:57.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 5:56.   The moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 3:41 tomorrow morning.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn.  It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the southeastern sky at 9 p.m. bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left.  Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of any but the faintest stars.  Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore.  It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it.  To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula, and the strange and tiny Hubble’s Variable Nebula.  It has a wealth of wonders below the surface so to speak.

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

Addendum

Moniceros the unicorn. Created using Stellarium.

Moniceros the unicorn. Created using Stellarium.