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Posts Tagged ‘Orion’

03/05/2020 – Ephemeris – Apparently Betelgeuse, though dimming wasn’t cooling as expected

March 5, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, March 5th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 24 minutes, setting at 6:36, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:10. The Moon, 3 days past first quarter, will set at 5:31 tomorrow morning.

Betelgeuse, the red star in the constellation Orion’s shoulder has apparently stopped dimming and has begun to brighten. The guesses as to the cause of the dimming are many. One suggested by a photograph taken of the star in December shows the southern half dimmed like it was covered by something. Betelgeuse out gasses lots of material, some of which condenses into dust. Could some of this dust mask the star and make it dimmer? I suspect that we’ll find out before too long. Many astronomers are wishing Betelgeuse would explode in a core collapse or type 2 supernova. At its approximate 700 light year distance we’d be safe, though a bazillion neutrinos would pass harmlessly through each one of us just before the light would get here.

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

Addendum

Betelgeuse's dust plume

An image of the star Betelgeuse taken in infrared shows it’s surrounded by a vast cloud of dust that erupted from the surface (the bright star itself is masked out, though an image of it has been superposed there for scale — it’s about the size of the orbit of Jupiter, over a billion km wide). Credit: ESO/P. Kervella/M. Montargès et al., Acknowledgement: Eric Pantin via Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog on syfy.com.

Betelgeuse before and after dimming

This comparison image shows the star Betelgeuse before and after its unprecedented dimming. The observations, taken with the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in January and December 2019, show how much the star has faded and how its apparent shape has changed. Credit: ESO/M. Montargès et al.

More on this from Dr. Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog on syfy.com: https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/mea-culpa-betelgeuse-and-its-dusty-convective-pulsations

Categories: Ephemeris Program, stars Tags: ,

03/03/2020 – Ephemeris – Betelgeuse, apparently, has stopped dimming and may be brightening

March 3, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, March 3rd. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 18 minutes, setting at 6:33, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:14. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 3:41 tomorrow morning.

Betelgeuse the red giant star in the constellation Orion’s shoulder has apparently stopped dimming and may be brightening again. The process of recovery is slow. It may recover its former brightness. We’ll know this later in summer when Betelgeuse and the rest of Orion moves from behind the Sun and enters the morning sky. Betelgeuse is known to be irregular in brightness, but has never been recorded as being this dim, dropping it from being a first magnitude star. Betelgeuse is no longer dimming. There is lots of speculation as to why it’s now brightening. One is the thought that there are several periodic cycles that govern Betelgeuse’s variability. That the troughs of these cycles happen to coincide is one explanation.

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

Addendum

Orion at 7:07 p.m. January 6, 2020

Betelgeuse in Orion (the bright star on the left) at 7:07 p.m. January 6, 2020. Taken with my Samsung Galaxy S10+ in the moonlight. Compare the brightness of Betelgeuse with Rigel, Bellatrix and the belt stars.

The brightness of Betelgeuse from late November 2019 to 23 Feb. 2020 shows it dimming dramatically (the y-axis is in magnitudes, where a bigger number is fainter). A close-up on just the past 20 days (right) shows it starting to rise again around 18 Feb. Blue dots are estimates by eye, black using digital cameras, and the red line is a smooth fit to the data. Credit: Betelbot on Twitter, run by Michael Hipke via Dr. Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy post https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/no-supernova-for-you-betelgeuse-is-brightening-again-right-on-schedule

 

 

02/24/2020 – Ephemeris – Conflict in the skies: Orion vs. Taurus

February 24, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 24th.  Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 53 minutes, setting at 6:23, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:27.  The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 7:26 this evening.

The classical constellation figures of Orion the hunter and Taurus the bull appear to be interacting in the sky. Orion is in the south at 9 p.m. An angry Taurus, a bit above him in the southwest, appears to be charging at Orion who appears to be facing him with lion skin shield and an upraised club. Orion’s two hunting dogs, canes major and minor, appear to be unconcerned. The face of Taurus the bull is a letter V shape of faint stars with a bright reddish star at the upper left tip of the V called Aldebaran the bull’s angry bloodshot eye. There’s no mythological story that goes with this.  Both Orion and Taurus have their own myths associated with them separate from their apparent clash in the heavens.

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

Addendum

Orion vs Taurus

Conflict in the skis: Taurus is charging Orion. Seen at 9 p.m. in late February. Created using Stellarium and the dimming of Betelgeuse in GIMP.

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.

02/18/2020 – Ephemeris – Orion in three cultures

February 18, 2020 Comments off

Feb 18. This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, February 18th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 6:14, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:37. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 5:24 tomorrow morning.

We observe the constellation of Orion in the south at 9 p.m. and think of the hapless Greek hero. To the Hebrews it was Kesil, the fool who built the tower of Babel hoping to reach heaven. To the Anishinaabe native peoples of this place it is the Wintermaker whose rising in the evening announces the coming of winter. Where Orion’s arms carry a lion skin shield and a club, the Wintermaker’s arms are exaggerated and extend from Aldebaran in Taurus to Procyon in Canis Minor, embracing just about all of the winter sky. Two other Anishinaabe constellations are entering the skies at this time in the east and northeast, to announce the coming of spring. One the pleasures and the other the dangers.

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

Addendum

Orion

Orion as he is seen tonight at 9 p.m. Created using Stellarium.

Wintermaker

The Wintermaker stretches his arms wide to embrace the winter stars. Created using Stellarium. Wintermaker figure from Ojibwe Sky Star Map by A. Lee, W. Wilson, C. Gawboy.  Stellarium contains the constellation art from many cultures.

02/17/2020 – Ephemeris – A look at Orion and his hunting dogs

February 17, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for President’s Day, Monday, February 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 6:13, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:39. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:27 tomorrow morning.

The great winter constellation or star group Orion the Hunter, is located in the southern sky at 9 p.m. His elongated rectangle of a torso is vertical. In the center of the rectangle are three stars in a line that make his belt. As a hunter, especially one of old, he has two hunting dogs. The larger, Canis Major can be found by following the three belt stars of Orion down and to the left. There lies the brilliant star called Sirius, also known as the Dog Star. It’s in the heart of a stick figure dog lower in the south facing Orion that appears to be begging. Canis Minor is just two stars found by extending Orion’s shoulder stars eastward where we find bright Procyon, the little dog star in the southeast.

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

Addendum

Orion and his hunting dogs

Orion and his hunting dogs with pointers as seen at 9 p.m. in mid February. Created using Stellarium.

02/13/2020 – Ephemeris – Orion’s Belt stars

February 13, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, February 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 6:07, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:45. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:48 this evening.

Orion’s belt of three stars is one of the most noticeable star groupings in the sky. There are no other group of three bright stars in a straight line visible anywhere else in the sky. The star’s names from left to right are Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. They are actually a bit farther away than the other bright stars of Orion. Alnilam, the center star is over three times the distance of red giant Betelgeuse above them and over twice as far as blue white giant star Rigel below them. Alnilam is 375 thousand times brighter than the Sun according to the SIMBAD Astronomical Database. These three stars were also known as Frigga’s Spindle by the Norsemen. Frigga also known as Freya is the goddess from which we get the name of the day of the week Friday.

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

Addendum

Torso of Orion centered on his belt. Created using Stellarium.

Torso of Orion centered on his belt. The torso of Orion is more upright this month. But I’m leaving it tilted so the star names don’t over print the stars. Created using Stellarium.