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Posts Tagged ‘Pleiades’

04/21/2017 – Ephemeris – Mars is passing south of the Pleiades today

April 21, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, April 21st.  The Sun rises at 6:47.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 8:35.  The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:54 tomorrow morning.

Mars in its ever eastward trek through the constellations of the Zodiac is now just south of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster in the western evening twilight.  By 10 p.m. Mars will be 10 degrees above the western horizon.  That’s the width of a fist held at arm’s length.  Because of our location on the Earth, the setting sky is tilted, so Mars being south of the Pleiades is to the lower left of it.  The bright star Aldebaran, now brighter than Mars is to the left of it with the V-shaped star cluster called the Hyades, in mythology, half sisters of the Pleiades, filling out the face of Taurus the bull.  Mars will finally be overtaken by the Sun on July 26th.  After that it will spend more than a year to come closer to us than at any time since August 2003.

First star party of the year at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Tomorrow night the Rangers of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host a Star Party at the Dune Climb featuring the planet Jupiter, and the stars of spring.  It starts at 9 p.m.

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

Addendum

Mars passes the Pleiades

Mars and the Pleiades at 10 p.m. April 21, 2017. Aldebaran and the Hyades which is the face of Taurus the bull is to the left of them. Created using Stellarium.

Note that the nebulosity in the Pleiades exists, but is not visible to the naked eye.

03/16/2017 – Ephemeris – Curly Tail, The Great Underwater Panther

March 16, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, March 16th.  The Sun will rise at 7:52.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 7:50.  The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 12:03 tomorrow morning.

The Anishinabek people of the Great Lakes Region, which includes the Ottawa, Chippewa and Ojibwe Indians have two constellations of winter that I know of.  The first is The Winter Maker which uses many of Orion’s stars plus Procyon the Little Dog Star.  It rises in the eastern skies in the evening as winter is beginning.  The second is the Curly Tail, the Great Underwater Panther.  Which uses the stars of Leo the lion’s backward question mark as its tail and the small knot of stars that are the head of Hydra the water snake below Cancer as its head.  I imagine this constellation was a warning to youngsters to keep off the thinning ice of spring, lest they fall in and be snatched by the great underwater panther that lives beneath the ice.

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

Addendum

Ojibwe constellations

An animated GIF rotating between an unannotated star field facing south at 10 p.m. March 16th.; Western constellation names and lines for Orion, Hydra, and Leo; Western constellation art, Ojibwe constellation names and lines; and Ojibwe constellation art. Created using Stellarium. The Ojibwe constellation art is supplied as part of the latest version of Stellarium.  Click on the image to enlarge.

The source for the Ojibwe constellation art is from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide (An introduction to Ojibwe Star Knowledge) by Annette S. Lee, William Wilson, Jeffrey Tibbetts, and Carl Gawboy, ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4.  The illustrations are by Annette S. Lee and William Wilson.  There is also a poster sized star map available.  It should be available in book stores locally, or at Amazon.  I found my copy at Enerdyne in Suttons Bay.

Also shown is the Pleiades, which to the Ojibwe is Hole in the Sky, which has to do with the Shaking Tent Ceremony.  The Pleiades is also known as the Sweating Stones, the heated stones used in the Sweat Lodge Ceremony.  In the later spring sky the Sweat Lodge itself is seen in the stars of the Western Corona Borealis.

Note:  As far as tribe names go:  Ottawa = Odawa, and Chippewa = Ojibwe.

02/24/2017 – Ephemeris – Winter star party at the Sleeping Near Dunes tomorrow night

February 24, 2017 2 comments

Ephemeris for Friday, February 24th.  The Sun will rise at 7:27.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 6:23.  The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:53 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow night the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society and the Rangers of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will hold a star party at the Dune Climb parking lot from 7 to 9 p.m. but only if it is clear.  Last Saturday night it happened to be clear, so I went out there to do some photography of the heavens, and the sky was spectacular with the brilliant constellation Orion dominating the southern sky.  Its great star forming region, the Great Orion Nebula displaying its bright heart and wispy outer tendrils of gas and dust heading away from that nest of bright baby stars that are illuminating it. Venus is a shining beacon in the west until it sets into the dune.  We might even be able to spot the faint Zodiacal Light in the west.

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

Addendum

Orion

Orion in a 30 second exposure taken at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Dune Climb February, 18, 2017 by Bob Moler. Click on image to enlarge a bit.

Centered on Perseus

Area of the sky from the Hyades and Pleiades on the left to the Double Cluster on the right. While processing the image for this post I discovered two possible meteor trails on the left and below center. A 2 minute exposure taken at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Dune Climb February, 18, 2017 by Bob Moler. Click on image to enlarge and see all the deep sky goodies in it..

12/16/2016 – Ephemeris – The Pleiades in the mythology of many cultures

December 16, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, December 16th.  The Sun will rise at 8:14.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:03.  The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 8:28 this evening.

Let’s look at how some other cultures saw the Pleiades.  To the Anishinabek 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 Devils 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 some suggested that the appearance of the Pleiades in the morning sky signaled the best sailing weather in the Mediterranean region.

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

* I originally reported it as Lakota on the program, and earlier as the Sioux.

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, www.nps.gov/deto

Categories: Constellations, Mythology Tags:

12/15/2015 – Ephemeris – The Seven Sisters of the Pleiades

December 14, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, December 15th.  The Sun will rise at 8:13.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:02.  The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 7:21 this evening.

While I’ve mentioned the Pleiades with regard to its neighboring stars and constellations several times this autumn I haven’t looked at this beautiful star cluster itself.  The Pleiades appears as a  group of six or seven stars visible to the naked eye, of over a hundred stars, and is also known as the Seven Sisters.  Some also mistake it for the Little Dipper, due to the little bowl shape in the center of the cluster.  I call it the “tiny dipper”.  The real Little Dipper is now hanging off Polaris in the north.  There are a lot of stories about the Pleiades from many different cultures.  From the Greek and Roman cultures we get our best known stories of them, that the seven sisters were the daughters of the god Atlas and Pleione.  The 9 brightest stars bear the names of the sisters and their parents.

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

Addendum

Hyades and Pleiades

The Pleiades (right) and the Hyades, the face of Taurus the bull (left) in this photograph I took 11:23 p.m. January 4, 2016.

Named Pleiads

The named stars of the Pleiades. This is also showing more stars than can be seen with the naked eye. This is the number of stars that can be seen in binoculars, which is the best way to observe them. Most telescopes offer too much magnification to fit all the stars in. A thirty power wide angle eyepiece can just fit all the stars in. Created using Stellarium.  Note that this view is the orientation of the cluster at 8p.m. tonight.

 

12/08/2016 – Ephemeris – Aldebaran, the follower

December 8, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, December 8th.  The Sun will rise at 8:07.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 5:02.  The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 2:26 tomorrow morning.

The central constellation of winter, Orion, is low in the east-southeast at 9 p.m.  Above it is Taurus the bull.  The bright orange star in Taurus is Aldebaran.  Aldebaran appears at the bottom left tip of a letter V group of stars lying on its side that is the face of the bull.  Aldebaran isn’t actually part of the group, called the Hyades star cluster.  The cluster is about 151 light years away, while Aldebaran is a bit less than half that.  The star has an orange hue because its surface is cooler than the Sun’s.  However Aldebaran is 44 times larger in diameter, and shines 350 times brighter than the Sun.  Next Monday night the 12th, the Moon will pass in front of Aldebaran in an event called an occultation I’ll have more information on it then.  The name Aldebaran means The Follower, since it follows the Pleiades across the sky as the Earth rotates.

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

Addendum

Aldebaran

Aldebaran in the ‘V’ shape of the Hyades (The face of Taurus the bull) with the Pleiades above. Created using Stellarium.

11/28/2016 – Ephemeris – The Hyades the star cluster in the face of Taurus the bull

November 28, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, November 28th.  The Sun will rise at 7:57.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 5:04.  The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:45 tomorrow morning.

Rising in the east now is the bright star Aldebaran an orange star that’s at one end of the sideways letter V of stars that is the head of Taurus the bull.  Above it is the jewel-like Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster.  There’s more to Taurus, like it’s freakishly long horns and front part of its body.  But you can say you’ve seem Taurus, if you can spot his face.  That V of stars is actually a star cluster called the Hyades, and in Greek Myth were the half-sisters of the Pleiades, also fathered by the god Atlas.  Both the Hyades and Pleiades are being pursued by Orion, which as Robert Frost put it is throwing a leg over the eastern horizon at 8 to 9 pm.  He isn’t the only one following the Pleiades, the name Aldebaran means “The Follower”.

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

Addendum

the Hyades, Taurus, Orion and the Pleiades

An animation showing the Hyades, Taurus, Orion and the Pleiades. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.  Click on image to enlarge.

Closeup of the Hyades and the Pleiades

Closeup of the Hyades and the Pleiades. Created using Stellarium.