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Posts Tagged ‘Pleiades’

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.

 

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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.

11/24/2016 – Ephemeris – The little constellation that used to start the seasonal year

November 24, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24th.  The Sun will rise at 7:52.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 14 minutes, setting at 5:06.  The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:54 tomorrow morning.

From antiquity, the first constellation of the Zodiac has been Aries the ram.  That’s the constellation the Sun entered on the first day of spring, or the vernal equinox.  Well that was a couple of thousand years ago.  Currently the vernal equinox point is in western Pisces.  This is due to the wobbling of the Earth’s axis called precession.  The spinning Earth like and top or gyroscope wobbles when force is applied to it.  In this case the Sun and Moon.  One wobble takes 26,000 years to complete.  Anyway, Aries is a small constellation of four stars in a bent line, below the triangular constellation of Triangulum, which is itself below Andromeda.  It’s a bit west or right of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster.

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

Addendum

Aries the ram

Aries the ram animated finder chart for 9 p.m. November 24, 2016. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The vernal equinox today

The vernal equinox today, where the blue line, the celestial equator and the orange line, the ecliptic or path of the Sun cross. The Sun is where these lines cross on the first day of spring (March 20th around here). Note that the vernal equinox is now in western Pisces. Created using Stellarium.

The vernal equinox in AD 100

The vernal equinox back in AD 100, where the blue line, the celestial equator and the orange line, the ecliptic or path of the Sun cross. The Sun is where these lines cross on the first day of spring. Note that the vernal equinox was at the east edge of Pisces. Created using Stellarium.

12/17/2015 – Ephemeris – The bright star Aldebaran the “follower”

December 17, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, December 17th.  The Sun will rise at 8:14.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:03.   The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 12:07 tomorrow morning.

The central constellation of winter Orion, will be rising 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 lower left tip of a letter V group of stars 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 65.  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 425 times brighter than the sun, if you include the infrared which our eyes can’t detect, or 150 times brighter in visible light.  The name Aldebaran means “Follower”  because it follows the Pleiades star cluster above through the night.

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

Addendum

Aldebaran, Hyades and Pleiades

Aldebaran, the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters. Created using Stellarium.

Taurus and Orion

Three views of Taurus the bull and Orion the hunter for 9 p.m. on December 8, 2015. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

 

11/09/2015 – Ephemeris – The celestial sisters

November 9, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, November 9th.  The Sun will rise at 7:31.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 5:21.   The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:15 tomorrow morning.

A marvelous member of the autumn skies can be found rising in the east at 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.  As nearsighted as I am, though corrected, I’ve never been able to see more than a few stars and a bit of fuzz.  However with binoculars, over a hundred stars appear along with the dipper shape of the brightest.  The fuzz I saw was unresolved stars, but in photographs the Pleiades actually contains wisps of dust that reflect the star’s blue light which the cluster is passing through.  In Greek and Plains Indian mythology the sisters were young maidens.

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

Addenda

Pleiades Rising

The Pleiades rising at 8 p.m. November 9th. Created using Stellarium.

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

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

I’ll be in Cadillac tonight

I’ll be giving an illustrated talk tonight to the Cadillac Garden Club at St. Ann’s Parish in Cadillac at 7 p.m. I’ll be talking about all the ways the Sun affects the Earth.  At 8 p.m., if it’s clear,  I and other members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will have some telescopes set up in the parking lot to view the wonders of the heavens.  The meeting appears to be open to the public and the viewing after definitely is.

 

04/21/2015 – Ephemeris – The Moon will pass the Hyades star cluster today to pass near Venus tonight

April 21, 2015 Comments off

Apr 21.  This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 21st.  Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 8:35.   The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at midnight.  Tomorrow the Sun will rise at 6:47.

The moon, which was new last Saturday passed the face of the constellation Taurus the bull earlier today.  The face of Taurus is a letter V shape of stars which is the star cluster called the Hyades.  There’s a bright orange star that appears at the left tip of the V called Aldebaran, which actually doesn’t belong to the cluster.  At 9:30 the crescent Moon will have also just passed the brilliant planet Venus.  By then they will be nearly 8 degrees apart, which is a bit less than the width of a fist held at arm’s length.  The Moon, Venus and all the planets move very close along the path of the Sun in the sky, called the ecliptic.  Even so the Moon is now about 5 degrees south of the ecliptic and Venus about 2 degrees north of it.

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

Addendum

The Moon, Venus and the Hyades

The Moon with Venus and the Hyades at 9:30 p.m. April 21, 2015. Note the Pleiades on the right.  Created using Stellarium.