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Posts Tagged ‘Pleiades’

01/18/2023 – Ephemeris – Let’s see where the naked-eye planets have wandered off to this week

January 18, 2023 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 18th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 5:32, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:14. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 6:28 tomorrow morning.

Let’s see where the naked-eye planets have wandered off to this week. Very early after sunset, Venus might be spotted very low in the southwest by 6 pm. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be visible this evening, in the east to southwestern sky by 6:30 or 7 pm. Mars will be above Orion in the east-southeast and near the Pleiades. Jupiter is the brightest of the three and will be in the south-southwest., while dimmer Saturn will be very low in the southwest at that time. Saturn, the westernmost of these bright planets, will set around 7:42 this evening. It’s a bit above and left of Venus. Mercury is now in the morning sky, after it passed inferior conjunction with the Sun on the 7th, that is, it passed between the Earth and the Sun. It should be briefly visible before sunrise by month’s end.

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

Venus and Saturn low in the southwest at 6:15 pm tonight, January 18, 2023. Saturn will probably not be visible yet, but Venus should be plenty bright enough. Created using Stellarium.

All the evening planets before Venus sets

All the evening planets before Venus sets are in this panorama looking southward from east to west at 7:15 tonight, January 18, 2023. I dropped lines from some of the dimmer constellations. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic views of Venus, Saturn Jupiter and Mars

Telescopic views of Saturn Jupiter and Mars (north up) as they would be seen in a small telescope, with the same magnification. The image of Mars doesn’t show it, but the white north polar cap will appear at the top or north limb of Mars. The planets are shown at 7 pm tonight, January 18, 2023. Apparent diameters: Venus 10.77″ and is 93.5% illuminated; Saturn 15.52″, its rings 36.16″; Jupiter 37.32″. Mars 12.25″. Mars’ distance is71.6 million miles (114.4 million kilometers). The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

The naked-eye planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise on a single night, starting with sunset on the right on January 18, 2023. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 19th. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using my LookingUp app and GIMP.

01/10/2023 – Ephemeris – The constellation of Orion the hunter, unlucky in love

January 10, 2023 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 10th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 3 minutes, setting at 5:22, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:18. The Moon, halfway from full to last quarter, will rise at 9:01 this evening.

Before the Moon rises tonight, we will have two hours of darkness. Winter’s central constellation, Orion the hunter, doesn’t need the Moon to be absent to see its principal stars. He’s in the southeast before the Moon rises with red Betelgeuse in one shoulder and dimmer Bellatrix on the other, Saiph at one knee and bright blue-white Rigel at the other. Between his shoulders and knees runs his belt of three stars in a line. Above Betelgeuse, he is holding a club aloft and from Bellatrix he holds a lion skin shield to defend himself from the charge of Taurus the bull, above and right of him. I consider him a hard luck hero, with three different stories on how he died. Unlucky in love, he’s consigned to chase the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades throughout eternity.

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

Orion finder animation with Mars

Orion finder animation with Mars. First, showing the unannotated sky looking southeast at Orion. Second, Orion with lines and labels of the stars at the corners of his body, and other bright stars in the view, plus the Pleiades and bright planet Mars, that’s just happening to be passing through this year. Third, the constellation art for Orion and Taurus the bull. Created using Stellarium, LibreOffice Draw and GIMP.

Here are the three stories of how Orion died: One: Orion raped the goddess Artemis, and so she killed him. Two: Orion was betrothed to Artemis, but her twin brother Apollo was jealous and caused her to kill him in a hunting “accident”. Three: Orion was killed by the sting of a scorpion, which is the reason Orion and Scorpius are never in the sky at the same time.

12/15/2022 – Ephemeris – Stories of the Pleiades from many lands

December 15, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, December 15th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:13. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 12:16 tomorrow morning.

Let’s look at how some ancient cultures saw the Pleiades, the star cluster that is seen high in the eastern sky these evenings. To the Anishinaabe native peoples around here, the Pleiades is the “Hole in the Sky” or the seven stones that are heated for the sweat lodge ceremony. To the Kiowa, these were sister stars that had been whisked into the sky from the top of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, where they were threatened by a huge bear. In Norse mythology, these were the goddess Freya’s* hens. The name we know them by has rather misty origins. Some think the Greek name is from the mother of the seven sisters, Pleione. The Greek word for sail is similar to Pleiades, and the appearance of the Pleiades in the morning sky saw the best sailing weather in the Mediterranean.

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.

* Freya is the Norse goddess from which we get the name of the day of the week Friday from. In Latin, the day is named after the goddess Venus.

Addendum

Greek Pleiades

The Greek Pleiades, a painting by Elihu Vedder in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Public Domain.

Devil's Tower

Seven maidens being attacked by a giant bear, having fled to the top of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Painting by Herbert Collins, http://www.nps.gov/deto

They are also the Seven Daughters of the Moon and Sun. They loved to dance and play, and when their father, the Moon was low in the sky, would descend to the Earth in a basket to do their thing. On one of their trips to the earth, one of them was captured by a human, and she ended up falling in love with him, and married him. When father Moon found out, he permanently dimmed her star, so now most people now only can spot 6 of the stars. This last bit seems to parallel the Greek story of the lost Pleiad.

11/22/2022 – Ephemeris – Finding Taurus the bull

November 22, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, November 22nd. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 19 minutes, setting at 5:08, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:50. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:30 tomorrow morning.

Low in the east at 8 this evening and below the beautiful Pleiades star cluster is Taurus the bull. His face is a letter V shape of stars lying on its side, the star cluster Hyades, with the bright orange-red star Aldebaran at one tip of the V as its angry blood-shot eye, but actually about halfway between us and the cluster. The Pleiades star cluster is in his shoulder. Taurus is seen charging downward at that hour, the soon to rise constellation of Orion, with bright Mars near the horn tips. Taurus in Greek mythology was the form the god Zeus assumed when he carried off the maiden Europa. Europa’s still with him as the intriguing satellite completely covered by an ocean below its icy exterior, and orbiting Zeus’ Roman equivalent, the planet Jupiter.

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

Pleiades finder animation

Taurus, Pleiades and Mars finder animation for 8:30 pm tonight, November 22, 2022. Mars is the interloper this year, seen between the horns of Taurus the Bull. The V of stars that make up the face of Taurus the bull is a star cluster of stars called the Hyades. In Greek mythology, they are the half-sisters of the Pleiades. Created using Stellarium, LibreOffice Draw, and GIMP.

Mars retrograde path 2022-2023

Mars retrograde path from October 29, 2022, to January 11, 2023, against the stars of Taurus the bull. It will be at opposition on December 7, and actually closest to the Earth on November 30 at 50.61 million miles or 81.45 million kilometers. In the upper right is the beautiful Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters. Below and right is the V shaped star cluster that represents the face of Taurus the bull, with the bright red star Aldebaran as the bull’s angry red eye. That V of stars is called the Hyades, who in mythology were the half sisters to the Pleiades. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts) and GIMP.

Rape of Europa

The Rape of Europa by Titian. According to the story, Zeus as a bull abducted Europa and swam to Crete, where she became the first queen of that island, and bore him three sons. Other paintings of this subject are by Rembrandt and de Troy. This painting belongs to the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston, MA.

11/21/2022 – Ephemeris – The Pleiades or the Seven Sisters

November 21, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, November 21st. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 5:09, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:49. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:10 tomorrow morning.

A marvelous member of the autumn skies can be found low in the east after 8 in the evening. It is the famous star cluster called the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. I might also add the ‘Tiny Dipper’. Many people can spot a tiny dipper shape in its six or seven stars, and mistake it for the Little Dipper. With binoculars, one can see over a hundred stars appear, along with the dipper shape of the brightest. In photographs, the Pleiades actually contain wisps of the dust they are currently passing through. In Greek mythology, the sisters were daughters of the god Atlas. I’ll be revisiting the Pleiades several times this autumn, winter, and before they disappear in the west in evening twilight next spring.

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

Pleiades finder animation

Pleiades finder animation for 8:30 pm tonight, November 21, 2022. Mars is the interloper this year, seen between the horns of Taurus the Bull. The V of stars that make up the face of Taurus the bull is a star cluster of stars called the Hyades. In Greek mythology, they are the half-sisters of the Pleiades. Created using Stellarium, LibreOffice Draw, and GIMP.

The Pleiades, about what you'd see in binoculars.

The Pleiades, about what you’d see in binoculars. To the naked eye, six or seven stars might be glimpsed. As star clusters go, it might seem small and unremarkable, but the Pleiades is nearby, and the brightest star cluster visible. Its stars are regarded by cultures around the world as female stars, generally sisters.  Credit: Mine.

04/04/2022 – Ephemeris – Two apparent planetary encounters tonight and tomorrow morning

April 4, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, April 4th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 8:14, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:16. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 12:10 tomorrow morning. | We have action at both end of the night tonight. This evening the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters star cluster, will be seen just above and right of the three-day old crescent Moon. The cluster will be at the one o’clock position from the Moon at 9 pm. At the other side of night, at 6:30 tomorrow morning, Venus will be shining brilliantly in the east-southeast and the planets Mars and Saturn will be very close together. This type of appearance is called a conjunction. Mars will appear about three-quarters of a moon diameter below and left of the slightly brighter Saturn. Mars is getting slowly brighter as the Earth creeps up on it, to overtake it this December. It’s currently 165 million miles (266 million kilometers) away.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The Moon and the Pleiades and Hyades tonight at 9 pm EDT, April 4, 2022. The Moon appears near the stepsister star clusters tonight. In Greek mythology, these two star clusters were indeed stepsisters, fathered by the god Atlas with different mothers. Created using Stellarium with additional captions in LibreOffice.

Saturn-Mars conjunction

A Saturn-Mars conjunction with brilliant Venus nearby as it might look like tomorrow morning, April 5, 2022. Created using Stellarium with labels added in LibreOffice.

01/20/2022 – Ephemeris – Taurus and the half sisters of the Pleiades

January 20, 2022 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, January 20th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 5:34, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:12. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 8:23 this evening.

High in the south-southeastern sky, and above-right of Orion, is the bright star Aldebaran. It’s at one tip of a letter V of fainter stars. The group of stars is the face of the constellation of Taurus the bull. Aldebaran is the angry bloodshot eye of the bull that’s charging Orion, whose defending himself with a lion skin shield and an upraised club. The stars in the V, and many more visible in binoculars, except for Aldebaran, belong to a star cluster called the Hyades. In Greek mythology, these are the half sisters of the Pleiades, visible as a tight group of stars above them. The V of stars is actually an upside down letter A, or Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew and Mesopotamian alphabets. This was invented when Taurus, not Aries, was host to the Sun at the spring equinox.

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

Hyades and Pleiades

The  Hyades (left) and the Pleiades (right) in this photograph I took January 4, 2016. Aldebaran is the bright star at the left tip of the Pleiades (right)  of the Hyades.

Orion-Taurus animation

Orion and Taurus finder animation for mid-January. Created using Stellarium

11/02/2021 – Ephemeris – Finding the Pleiades or Seven Sisters

November 2, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Election Day for some, Tuesday, November 2nd. The Sun will rise at 8:22. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 6:29. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:35 tomorrow morning.

A marvelous sight in the autumn skies can be found low in the east after 8 in the evening. It is the famous star cluster called the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. I might also add the “Tiny Dipper”. Many people can spot a tiny dipper shape in its six or seven stars, and mistake it for the Little Dipper. However, with binoculars, one can see over a hundred stars appear along with the dipper shape of the brightest. In photographs, the Pleiades actually contain wisps of the dust they are passing through. They are a young star cluster, whose age is estimated to be one hundred million years. In Greek mythology, the sisters were daughters of the god Atlas. I’ll be revisiting the Pleiades several times this autumn, and winter, starting on Thursday.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Pleiades finder animation

Finding the Pleiades animation for 9 p.m. in late October/early November. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The Pleiades, about what you'd see in binoculars.

The Pleiades, about what you’d see in binoculars.

03/03/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

March 3, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, March 3rd. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 6:33, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:14. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 12:09 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately the only one you’ll find is Mars. The other four are hanging out in the direction of the Sun and won’t be seen for a week or so. Mars can be found high in the west-southwest and below left of the Pleiades at 8 pm tonight. Mars will be due south of the Pleiades tonight, which from our cockeyed view of the heavens, from north of the equator, places Mars below and left of the Pleiades. The Red Planet will set at 1:20 am. Of the outer planets Mars is the fastest, being the nearest to the Sun, and to the Earth. So unlike Jupiter, Saturn, and the stars which rise and set about four minutes earlier each night, Mars sets about a minute earlier each night now.

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

Addendum

Mars south of Pleiades animation

Here’s an animation showing why Mars being south of the Pleiades doesn’t look like it in the sky. This is all about directions on the celestial sphere. This will be the position of Mars at 8 pm on March 3rd, 2021, seen in the west-southwest. It is a three frame animation. The first is without coordinate grids as one would see it from about 45 degrees north latitude. The second frame contains the equatorial grid. The lines to the upper right point to the North Pole of the sky near Polaris, so that’s north. The third frame has an alt-azimuth grid. Its lines run vertically and horizontally. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Binocular Moon

The moon as it might appear in binoculars at 6 am tomorrow morning March 4, 2021. Created using Stellarium.

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on March 3, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 4th. There is a planet traffic jam in the morning and the symbols and labels for Jupiter and Mercury overlap. Unfortunately these planets rise too soon before the Sun to be seen for us up north. It is a great sight for Southern Hemisphere observers. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

 

12/08/2020 – Ephemeris – Finding Taurus the bull

December 8, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 8th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 5:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:08. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:39 tomorrow morning.

Orion is the big splashy constellation in the east southeast by 9 in the evening. Above it is another famous constellation Taurus the bull. Its face is a letter V shape of stars on its side with the open end of the V to the left. The bright star at the lower left end of the sideways V is the ruddy star Aldebaran, the Bull’s angry bloodshot eye. The bull is charging down at Orion. The Pleiades, also known as the seven sisters, is the cluster of stars in his shoulder, above the V. The stars in the face of Taurus, except for Aldebaran belong to a star cluster like the Pleiades, but closer and older, called the Hyades. In Greek mythology the Hyades are half sisters to the Pleiades, all fathered by the god Atlas.

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

Addendum

Taurus and Orion

Three views of Taurus the bull and Orion the hunter for 9 p.m. on December 8th. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Hyades and Pleiades

The Pleiades (right) and the Hyades (left) in this photograph I took January 4, 2016. The orientation is a bit different from how it appears in early December.