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Posts Tagged ‘Pegasus’

10/24/2019 – Ephemeris – Let’s find Aquarius

October 24, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, October 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 6:43, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:11. The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 4:41 tomorrow morning.

One of the constellations of the zodiac is in the southeastern sky at 8 in the evening. It’s the constellation of Aquarius the water bearer. The image that is supposed to be depicted in the stars is that of a fellow spilling a stone jar of water. Aquarius is fairly hard to spot because it is made of faint stars. One part of him, though, is easy to spot. That is the Water Jar, an asterism or informal constellation. It is a distinctive small nearly equilateral triangle of stars with another star in the center. Stars extending to the right from the water jar are the yoke he’s holding the water jar with. The Water jar is just below the top of the head of the upside down Pegasus the flying horse. The water is flowing down a vertical line of stars.

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

Addendum

Aquarius finder animation

Aquarius finder animation for tonight at 8 p.m. October 24, 2019. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

09/26/2019 – Ephemeris – Looking for Andromeda

September 26, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, September 26th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 7:33, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:35. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:49 tomorrow morning.

In the east at 9 this evening can be found a large square of stars, the Great Square of Pegasus the flying horse. The square is standing on one corner. What look like its hind legs stretching to the left from the left corner star is another constellation, Andromeda the chained maiden. She is seen in the sky as two diverging curved strings of stars that curve upward. She was rescued by the hero Perseus, a nearby constellation, riding his steed Pegasus. Andromeda’s claim to astronomical fame is the large galaxy seen with the unaided eye just above the upper line of stars, the Great Andromeda Galaxy, about 2 and a half million light years away. To the unaided eye the galaxy appears as a small smudge of light. In binoculars the galaxy is a delicate spindle of light.

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

Addendum

Pegasus-Andromeda finder

Pegasus & Andromeda animated finder chart for 9 p.m. in late September. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Andromeda at 9 p.m. with the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Created using Stellarium.

Andromeda at 9 p.m. with the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Created using Stellarium.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.

09/19/2019 – Ephemeris – The celestial upside down flying horse

September 19, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, September 19th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 20 minutes, setting at 7:46, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:27. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 10:42 this evening.

Rising and almost half way up the sky in the east at as it gets dark around 9 p.m. can be found one of the great autumn constellations: Pegasus the flying horse of Greek myth. Its most visible feature is a large square of four stars, now standing on one corner. This feature, called the Great Square of Pegasus, represents the front part of the horse’s body. The horse is quite aerobatic, because it is seen flying upside down. Remembering that fact, the neck and head is a bent line of stars emanating from the right corner star of the square. Its front legs can be seen in a gallop extending to the upper right from the top star of the square. From the left star extend, not hind legs but the constellation of Andromeda, rescued with the help of Pegasus.

For my retelling of the Greek myth that links these two and other autumn constellations click here.

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

Addendum

Pegasus-Andromeda finder

Pegasus & Andromeda animated finder chart for 9 p.m. September 19, 2019. Click on the iamge to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Ephemeris Extra – The Great Star Story of Autumn

September 18, 2019 Comments off
Autumn Star Story Constellations

The constellations of the great star story of autumn. Looking southeast on October 31 at 10 p.m. Created using Stellarium.

The great star wheel of the sky rolls on. In the evening sky gone are the stars of spring, and going are the southern stars of summer. In the morning sky before sunrise the stars of an early winter evening.

A constant in both skies are the stars of autumn: rising in the evening and setting in the morning. In no other part of the sky do so many constellations take part in a single story

The constellations, as seen above are Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, Pegasus, and Cetus. And their story goes like this:

In distant Ethiopia a crisis was brewing. King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia were at wits end as how to stop it. A giant sea monster named Cetus was ravaging the country’s coastal cities destroying them and devouring the inhabitants.

The king and queen consulted the temple oracle as to what happened and what could be done to save their country. The oracle intoned gravely that the fault was Cassiopeia’s. Suddenly the queen knew what happened. Cassiopeia was very beautiful and she had vainly boasted to all who could hear that she was more beautiful than even the sea nymphs, the lovely daughters of the sea god Poseidon.

The sea nymphs had heard of Cassiopeia’s boast and complained to their father. Poseidon, like any father, was angered, and being a god was able to do something about. Being a god means never having to say your sorry when you do something really mean. He loosed the monster Cetus upon the Ethiopians.

The oracle said that to appease the monster and Poseidon Cassiopeia would have to sacrifice her daughter the Princess Andromeda to the monster. That is how young Andromeda was chained to the rocks on the sea shore to await her doom…

Far away in ancient Greece a wedding was about to take place between the beautiful Princess Danaë and King Polydectes. Danaë’s son Perseus, fathered by Zeus, but that’s another story, wasn’t too happy about the proposed union, and Polydectes wanted the boy gone.

When Perseus asked Polydectes what he wanted for a wedding gift, he said, “I want the head of Medusa.” The boy immediately and foolhardedly agreed to get it for him.

Merdusa, it turns out, was one of three sisters, the Gorgons, who had snakes for hair. They were so ugly that one glimpse of them would turn the beholder to stone. Medusa was the only mortal one.

Luckily Perseus had the favor of the god Hermes and Athene. They armed him with Hermes’ winged sandals, a helmet that made him invisible, a pouch that would expand to hold an object of any size, a shiny mirror shield, and a sword.

Thus armed Perseus was told to find the Graiae or the gray women, who could tell him where the lair of the Gorgons was. They were three in number and shared but one eye and one tooth among them which they passed from one to another to use.

The Graiae refused to help Perseus. But he was able to force them to help by snatching their one eye while it was being passed from one to another. They told him that the Gorgons dwelt in the shore of the river Ocean at the edge of the world in perpetual twilight.

In approaching the lair of the Gorgons Perseus put on the helmet of invisibility. He approached Medusa stepping backwards, cautiously peering only at Medusa’s indistinct image in his shield. Perseus then swept his sword in a backhanded way and managed to sever Medusa’s head. It is said that Athene guided his hand.

Amazingly, springing full grown from Medusa’s blood was the winged white stallion Pegasus. After placing Medusa’s head in the pouch, Perseus mounted Pegasus for the trip home.

Cruising high in the sky over the Ethiopian coast Perseus spotted a horrific sight. There far below the beautiful Andromeda, in chains; her screams reaching his ears. Then he spotted why she was screaming. A short distance away, crawling out of the surf was the monster Cetus, heading towards Andromeda. Perseus immediately sizes up the situations and swooped with Pegasus down to a spot between Andromeda and the monster. Then, burying his head in his shoulder drew out the head of Medusa from the pouch and held it in front of Cetus. The head was as lethal in death as in life, and the monster was promptly turned to stone. Replacing the head in the pouch, Perseus freed Andromeda. They flew off to, well supposedly, live happily ever after.

Oh yes. Perseus did present the head of Medusa to his step father Polydectes. He, of course, was also turned to stone when he laid eyes on it.

There you have it a story connecting the autumn constellations of Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, Pegasus and Cetus.

Cepheus is a dim church steeple of a constellation. Its dim star Delta is a variable star, the prototype of an important class of distance measuring stars called Cephieds in its honor. Cassiopeia is the famous W shaped constellation that along with Cepheus doesn’t set at our latitude.

Perseus looks to me more like the cartoon roadrunner than a hero. As the ancients saw him, he is holding the head of Medusa, whose still glittering eye is the star Algol, a variable star which ghastly winks at us every 2 days and 21 hours.

Andromeda’s modern claim to fame is the great galaxy that lies beyond her stars, the Great Andromeda Galaxy which has the designation M31. The galaxy is faintly visible to the unaided eye on dark nights. The farthest you can see without optical aid. The galaxy lies some 2.5 million light years away.

Pegasus can be easily found by the square of stars the form his body. It’s called the Great Square of Pegasus.

What can be said about Cetus. It now represents a whale, not a monster. Its star Mira, which means “Wonderful”, slowly varies in brightness over 330 days from a star barely visible in binoculars to a 2nd or 3rd magnitude star.

Look up on an autumn evening and recapture the wonder the ancients had as they looked upward at the stars.

11/08/2018 – Ephemeris – More constellations of autumn: Andromeda, Triangulum and Aries

November 8, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, November 8th. The Sun will rise at 7:30. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 5:22. The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 6:26 this evening.

High in the south at 9 p.m. can be seen the Great Square of Pegasus. From the top left star of the square diverge two curved lines of stars that is Andromeda the chained princess. Just below and left of Andromeda is a slender triangle of stars, none particularly bright. It has a name you can easily see in the stars, Triangulum, the triangle. Early Christians saw it as the Mitre of Saint Peter or the Trinity. Another small constellation seen below Triangulum is the much better known constellation Aries the ram, a small hockey stick of a constellation, not that hard to spot. It is the first constellation of the Zodiac, where the Sun is supposed to enter on the first day of spring. Due to the wobble of the Earth’s axis over the millenia, that honor is now given to Pisces.

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

Addendum

Andromeda, Pegasus, Triangulum and Aries finder animation
Andromeda, Pegasus, Triangulum and Aries finder animation for 8 p.m. November 8, 2018.  Created using Stellarium and GIMP.  Click on the image to enlarge.

10/11/2018 – Ephemeris – Pegasus the aerobatic horse

October 11, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for International Day of the Girl, Thursday, October 11th. The Sun will rise at 7:53. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 11 minutes, setting at 7:05. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 8:56 this evening.

Rising ever higher in the east at as it gets dark around 9 p.m. can be found one of the great autumn constellations: Pegasus the flying horse of Greek myth. Its most visible feature is a large square of four stars, now standing on one corner. This feature, called the Great Square of Pegasus, represents the front part of the horse’s body. The horse is quite aerobatic because it is seen flying upside down. Remembering that fact, the neck and head is a bent line of stars extending from the right corner star of the square. Its front legs can be seen in a gallop extending to the upper right from the top star of the square. From the left star extend, not hind legs but the constellation of Andromeda, an important constellation in its own right.  The Anishinaabek peoples native to this region saw ab upright Moose (Mooz) here.

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

Addendum

Pegasus and the Moose
Pegasus-Moose animation. The Anishinaabek constellation moose’s antlers in this imagining use the stars of the Western constellation of Lacerta the lizard. Created using Stellarium and the GIMP.

The constellation art is part of the latest versions of Stellarium. Ojibwe (Anishinaabek) constellation art by Annette S Lee and William Wilson from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide, ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4.

11/21/2017 – Ephemeris – The constellation of the fish has me looking for the fish

November 21, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, November 21st. The Sun will rise at 7:47. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 5:09. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 7:50 this evening.

High in the south at 8 or 9 p.m. are the four bright stars of the Great Square of Pegasus, the upside down flying horse. Lying along the left and bottom sides of that square is the constellation of Pisces the fish, one of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac that lie along the path of the sun, moon and planets. Even though the constellation is called the fish, the two fish themselves are not represented in the stars, at least that’s how I see it. What can be traced in the stars is the rope, that’s tied to their tails, anchored at the extreme southeastern part of the constellation. The right or western end of the Pisces is the asterism, or informal constellation, of the Circlet. It’s the loop of 5 stars, the rope around the tail of one of the two fish. The other end, without a loop, ends up under Andromeda.  Artists have always supplied the fish.

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

Addendum

Pisces finder chart

Animated Pisces finder chart base at November 21, at 9 p.m. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

11/07/2017 – Ephemeris – The autumn constellations are all visible in the early evening

November 7, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Election Day for some folks, Tuesday, November 7th. The Sun will rise at 7:28. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 5:23. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 8:49 this evening.

We’ll have about an hour and a half of reasonably dark skies between 6:30 and nearly 9 p.m. – At 8 p.m. all the autumn constellations are visible. The Zodiacal constellations from Capricornus in the southwest through Aquarius, Pisces and Aries, all relatively faint to Taurus rising in the east northeast. Pegasus the flying horse is seen in the high south-southeast. It and the connected constellation of Andromeda the chained princess are seen above Aquarius through Aries. The bright star Fomalhaut holds a lonely vigil low in the south, High in the northeast is the W shaped constellation of Cassiopeia the queen, under which is Perseus, her son-in-law and hero down to the bright star Capella.

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

Autumn constellations.

The sky at 8 p.m. November 7, 2017 showing the autumn constellations, centered on the southeastern sky. Click on the image to enlarge. The Milky Way has been brightened to show its passage through Perseus better. The red line is the ecliptic, the path of the Sun through the Zodiac. Created using Stellarium.

Addendum

 

10/16/2017 – Ephemeris – Andromeda, the chained princess

October 16, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, October 16th. The Sun will rise at 7:59. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 6:55. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 5:29 tomorrow morning.

The stars of the constellations Andromeda the chained princess look like they’re supposed to be the hind legs of Pegasus the flying horse which is high in the southeast at 9 p.m. Andromeda is high in the east She is seen in the sky as two diverging curved strings of stars that curve to the left and up from the leftmost star of the Great Square of Pegasus. Her predicament was caused by her boastful mother Cassiopeia, and the wrath of the god Poseidon. She was rescued by the hero Perseus, a nearby constellation, riding his steed Pegasus. Andromeda’s claim to astronomical fame is the large galaxy barely visible to the unaided eye just above the upper line of stars, the Great Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light years away.

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

Addendum

Andromeda and friends

Andromeda and neighboring constellations that are related to her story. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Andromeda at 9 p.m. with the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Created using Stellarium.

Andromeda at 9 p.m. with the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Created using Stellarium.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.  It appears here more extensive than it appears visually to the naked eye or in telescopes.

10/12/2017 – Ephemeris – Is it a flying horse or a moose?

October 12, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, October 12th. The Sun will rise at 7:54. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 8 minutes, setting at 7:02. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 1:02 tomorrow morning.

A reminder that fall is here is located high in the southeast around 9 p.m. It’s one of the great autumn constellations: Pegasus the flying horse of Greek myth. Its most visible feature is a large square of four stars, now standing on one corner. This feature, called the Great Square of Pegasus, represents the front part of the horse’s body. The horse is quite aerobatic, because it is seen flying upside down. Remembering that fact, the neck and head is a bent line of stars emanating from the right corner star of the square. Its front legs can be seen in a gallop extending to the upper right from the top star of the square. To the Anishinaabek peoples in the Great Lakes region it is the Moose, body where the square is and head where the front legs of Pegasus are.  It’s antlers use the stars of Lacerta the lizard.

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

Addendum

Pegasus and the Moose

Pegasus-Moose animation. The Anishinaabek constellation moose’s antlers in this imagining uses the stars of the Western constellation of Lacerta the lizard. Click on image to enlarge  Created using Stellarium and the GIMP.

The constellation art is part of the latest versions of Stellarium.  Western constellation art by Johan Meuris.  Ojibwe (Anishinaabek) constellation art by Annette S Lee and William Wilson from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide, ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4.