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Posts Tagged ‘Orion’

04/02/2021 – Ephemeris – Tonight: Free zoom based astronomy meeting and possible star party if clear

April 2, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Good Friday, April 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 8:12, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:19. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 2:42 tomorrow morning.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society hold a virtual meeting and program at 8 pm tonight via Zoom. For the program member Dan Dall’Olmo will present A Deep Look at Orion. April is our last chance to enjoy this most wonderful constellation until August mornings. The virtual star party will start around 9 pm, hosted by Dr. Jerry Dobek, astronomy professor at Northwestern Michigan College, but only if it’s clear in Traverse City. It will feature our last look at the Great Orion Nebula, and the first globular cluster of spring, M3, and a host of galaxies. Instructions to join and a link can be found on the society’s website www.gtastro.org.

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

Addendum

Orion as shown in the evening
Orion, with some of its deep sky objects, in the southwest tonight April 2, 2021 at 9:30 pm. Created using Stellarium.
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03/09/2021 – Ephemeris – A celestial warning to keep off thin ice

March 9, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, March 9th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 6:41, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:03. The Moon, halfway from last quarter to new, will rise at 6:12 tomorrow morning.

The native Anishinaabe peoples of the Great Lakes Region, which includes the tribes of our area, have one constellation of winter I know of. It is The Wintermaker which uses many of Orion’s stars and whose arms stretch from Aldebaran in Taurus the bull to Procyon the Little Dog Star, embracing the whole of the winter sky. Now that spring is nearly here he is sinking into the west, losing to the heat of the Sun. The first constellation of spring is Curly Tail, or the Great Underwater Panther. It uses the stars of Leo the lion’s backward question mark as its curly tail and the small knot of stars that are the head of Hydra the water snake below Cancer the crab as its head. His warning: Keep off the thinning ice or break through and be snatched by the great panther that lives below.

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

Addendum

Great Underwater Panther finder animation

The Great Underwater Panther finder animation. Three frame animation of Unannotated sky, International Astronomical Union constellations, and Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) constellations of Curly Tail and Wintermaker. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP. Additional credits below.

The time is set for the above image is 10 pm on March 9th.

The constellation art is part of the latest versions of Stellarium. Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) constellation art by Annette S Lee and William Wilson from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide, ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4. There is also an Ojibwe Sky Star Map poster suitable for framing.

02/04/2021 – Ephemeris – Finding Orion’s larger hunting dog

February 4, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, February 4th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 5:56, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:56. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 2:19 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. They point to Sirius, the brightest night-time star, also known as the Dog Star. It’s in the heart of a stick figure dog low in the southeast facing Orion that appears to be begging. There’s a fine star cluster, called Messier, or M 41, at the 5 o’clock position from Sirius. It’s easily visible in binoculars or a small telescope.

The event 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 February. I didn’t have time in the program to mention Canis Minor, the little dog. I expect to cover it in the future, or you can search for Canis Minor in the search box above. Created using Stellarium.

I did not have time to talk about Canis Minor in this program due to the inclusion of M 41. I plan to cover Canis Minor soon. I have in the past. Search for Canis Minor in the search box above.

Star cluster M 41 finder Chart

Star cluster M 41 finder chart. Created using Stellarium.

M 41 up close

M 41 up close. Image courtesy of Tim Hunter and James McGaha, Grasslands Observatory at http://www.3towers.com

 

01/26/2021 – Ephemeris – A look at the bright red giant star Betelgeuse

January 26, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 26th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 5:43, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:06. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 7:38 tomorrow morning.

At 8 pm the constellation of Orion the hunter is in the southeastern sky. The bright reddish star at the top left of Orion’s distinctive seven-star pattern is Betelgeuse a star near the end of its life. Being a single bright star, its distance is not well determined and is estimated to be about 550 light years away with an uncertainty of up to 20 percent, which make other estimates that uncertain too, like its mass and diameter. It’s somewhat less than 20 times the mass of the Sun, and a diameter possibly as large as Jupiter’s orbit of the Sun. It is old for a star of its mass, probably 8 million years old, with up to a million years to go on the outside before it will probably explode as a supernova and grace our skies as bright as the Moon for the better part of the better part of a year.

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

Addendum

Orion

The seven brightest stars of Orion in the south-southeast at 8 p. in late January.

Betelgeuse drawing

“This artist’s impression shows the supergiant star Betelgeuse as it was revealed thanks to different state-of-the-art techniques on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, which allowed two independent teams of astronomers to obtain the sharpest ever views of the supergiant star Betelgeuse. They show that the star has a vast plume of gas almost as large as our Solar System and a gigantic bubble boiling on its surface. These discoveries provide important clues to help explain how these mammoths shed material at such a tremendous rate. The scale in units of the radius of Betelgeuse as well as a comparison with the Solar System is also provided.” Credit: ESO/L. Calçada (ESO is the European Southern Observatory)

01/15/2021 – Ephemeris – The constellation Lepus the hare

January 15, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Friday, January 15th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 12 minutes, setting at 5:28, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:15. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 8:17 this evening.

Orion, the central winter constellation is seen in the southern sky this evening. He is a hunter, as artists depict him, he is preoccupied with the charge of Taurus the bull from the upper right. At Orion’s feet, and unnoticed by him is the small constellation of Lepus the hare. It’s very hard to see a rabbit in its eight dim stars: however, I can see a rabbit’s head ears and shoulders. A misshapen box is the head and face of this critter facing to the left. His ears extend upwards from the upper right star of the box, and the bend forward a bit. Two stars to the right of the box and a bit farther apart hint at the front part of the body. In Lepus telescopes can find M79, a distant globular star cluster, one of the few visible in the winter sky.

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

Addendum

My view of Lepus the hare.

My view of Lepus the hare. Star field from Cartes du Ciel. Desert Cottontail drawing from Arizona-Senora Desert Museum website. Superimposed with GIMP.

Lepus

An animation showing the stars, constellations and artwork of Lepus, Orion and Taurus from Stellarium. The constellation lines suggest a rabbit ears TV antenna. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

01/12/2021 – Ephemeris – The celestial river Eridanus

January 12, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 12th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 5:25, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:17. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 8:58 tomorrow morning.

One of the more obscure constellations around is Eridanus, which depicts a river. The river starts near the lower right corner of Orion, near the bright star Rigel and flows to the right then down near the southwestern horizon, then it meanders along the horizon to the south before turning below the horizon. One has to travel to the far south to see the southern terminus of the river, the bright star Achernar. Writers over the ages have seen here the Nile and the Earth circling river Ocean of the flat earth days. Achernar is actually two stars, the brightest was discovered to be the flattest star known, due to its rapid spin. The dimensions of Achernar A has been determined to be twice as wide across its equator than from pole to pole. It’s 139 light years away.

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

Addendum

Eridanus

An animation of the constellation Eridanus which is a river that flows from Rigel in Orion to the star Achernar below our southern horizon at latitude 45 degrees north. Create using Stellarium and GIMP.

01/11/2021 – Ephemeris – Procyon, the before the Dog Star

January 11, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Monday, January 11th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 5 minutes, setting at 5:23 pm, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:17 am. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 8:05 tomorrow morning.

Visible low in the east at 8 p.m. appears the star Procyon. To its right and below is Sirius the brightest night-time star. Procyon is the bright star in the constellation Canis Minor, or lesser dog. I can find only one other star in Canis Minor. Perhaps it’s a hot dog. If Sirius, in Canis major is the Dog Star then Procyon should be the Little Dog Star. However, Procyon is an interesting name. It means “Before the dog”, which is an allusion to the fact that Procyon, though east of Sirius actually rises before it. This is due to Procyon’s more northerly position. This effect doesn’t work south of the equator, however. Sirius will rise at about 7:30 tonight. Procyon is a star much like Sirius but is 32% farther away. It’s 11.4 to Sirius’ 8.6 light years away.

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

Addendum

Orion and his hunting dogs in early winter

Orion and his hunting dogs in early winter (8 pm, January 11, 2021) showing that Procyon does rise before Sirius.

01/07/2021 – Ephemeris – The constellations Orion and Taurus interact

January 7, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, January 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 59 minutes, setting at 5:19, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:19. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 3:13 tomorrow morning.

There are several instances in the Greek heavens where constellations appear to interact with one another. This is true with Orion the hunter and Taurus the bull. Taurus, whose face is the letter V of stars with orangish Aldebaran as his angry bloodshot eye is charging down on Orion, who has raised a lion skin shield on one arm and an upraised club in the other, ready to strike. They have been frozen in this pose for millennia. Stars below and right of the letter V of the Bull’s face suggest the front part of his body and his front legs charging at Orion. Orion also has two hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor. Canis Major with its dazzling star Sirius will rise around 7:30 on a line extended down from Orion’s belt.

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

Addendum

The Orion-Taurus Tableau. Seen around 8 pm, January 7, 2021. Created using Stellarium.

Categories: Constellations Tags: ,

01/05/2021 – Ephemeris – Orion’s named stars and their meanings

January 5, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 5th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 5:17, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:19. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 12:42 tomorrow morning.

The constellation of Orion the hunter is visible in the southeast at 8 p.m. The names of the stars of Orion are interesting in themselves. Starting at the top left of the seven bright stars of Orion’s torso is Betelgeuse the bright red star, whose name means something like “Armpit of the Giant”. The star in Orion’s other shoulder is Bellatrix the “Amazon Star”. Below are the three stars of Orion’s belt, from left to right; Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. Their names mean “Girdle”, “Belt of Pearls”, and “Belt” respectively. Down to Orion’s knees we look on the left to the star Saiph pronounced “Safe”* which means “Sword”, though it is a star in his knee. Finally, there’s the bright blue-white star Rigel whose name means “Left Leg of the Giant” in Orion’s other knee. These are the important stars that make up the figure of Orion in the sky. [BTW. most star names are Arabic, and what survives of them is just a part of the original Arabic phrases.]

* In the radio program I pronounced the word then spelled it out.

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

Addendum

Orion with star names.

The named stars of Orion. Created using Stellarium.

Categories: Constellations, Star Names Tags:

12/17/2020 – Ephemeris – Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse… Nope not saying it again

December 17, 2020 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, December 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:03, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:15. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 8:18 this evening.

The constellation Orion the hunter will have completely risen by 8 pm this evening. The leftmost bright red star in his shoulder is Betelgeuse. It’s phonetically spelled name (Beetle Juice) made the title of a movie in 1988. A year ago it’s dramatic dimming for a while caused some to wonder that it was about to explode in a supernova. Betelgeuse does normally vary a bit in brightness, but that was the most ever recorded. It’s a red giant star with a mass of 16 to 19 times the Sun’s. Its distance is thought to be about 550 light years away. It is difficult to measure the distance of single bright stars, even with satellites. Its age is maybe 8 to 8 ½ million years old out of a life expectancy of 10 million years, compared to the Sun’s 10 billion year life expectancy.

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

Addendum

Orion

Orion at 8 pm or about 3 hours after sunset in mid December. Its seven brightest stars make an unmistakable pattern with only Betelgeuse and Rigel labeled. Created using Stellarium.

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.

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 — the star is 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.

Categories: Ephemeris Program, Stars Tags: ,