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12/31/2017 – Ephemeris Extra – January 2018 preview

December 31, 2017 Comments off

This isn’t going to be recorded as an actual program.  I’m not sure how much information one could retain at 6 or 7 New Years Day morning.

Year end is a busy time astronomically with Earth’s perihelion and the Quadrantid meteor shower following rapidly on New Years day

Let’s look ahead at January 2018. Tuesday the 2nd is the date of the latest sunrise. The Sun is already beginning to head north, as can be seen in the sunset time on the 1st, 11 minutes later than at its earliest three weeks ago. Both sunrise and sunset will be moving in January with sunrise time at 8:20 a.m. and sunset time at 5:12 p.m. on the 1st moving to 8:02 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. at month’s end. The sun’s altitude at noon will increase from 22 degrees on the 1st to nearly 28 degrees by the 31st. The Earth will reach its closest to the Sun in its orbit, called perihelion, on the 2nd at 91.4 million miles (147.1 million km).

We’ll have a full moon on the 1st and the 31st, the so-called blue moon.  Both those moons will be super moons, occurring at or near perigee.  On  top of all that the  full moon on the 31st will be totally eclipsed.  We in Michigan will see nearly the first half of the eclipse before the Moon sets at 8:04 in the grand Traverse area.  Folks farther west will see more, if not all of the eclipse. February will have no full moons, so March again will have two full moons.

The Quadrantid meteor shower will reach peak on the 3rd, in the afternoon.  The radiant is circumpolar here, being off the handle of the Big Dipper.  Mercury will reach its greatest western elongation on the 1st and be visible shortly before sunrise for the next week rising after 6:30, but brightening a bit each day.  It’s not a particularly favorable elongation, now that winter is here.  The next evening elongation in  March will be a lot better.  Venus will be in superior conjunction with the Sun on the 9th and will enter the evening sky, but don’t look for it this month.  Mars and Jupiter will have a close conjunction on the 6th.  It will look about equally OK on the morning of the 6th or 7th around here because it occurs on the evening of the 6th, when they are not up.

Addenda

January Evening Sky Chart

January Evening Star Chart

Star Chart for January 2018 (9 p.m. January 15, 2018). Created using my LookingUp program. Click on image to enlarge.

The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 9 p.m. EST in the evening and 6 a.m. for the morning chart. These are the chart times. Note that Traverse City is located approximately 45 minutes behind our time meridian. (An hour 45 minutes behind our daylight saving time meridian. during EDT and 45 minutes behind our daylight standard time meridian. during EST). To duplicate the star positions on a planisphere you may have to set it to 1 hour 45 minutes (Daylight Time) or 45 minutes (Standard Time) earlier than the current time if you are near your time meridian.

Note the chart times of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. are for the 15th. For each week before the 15th add ½ hour. For each week after the 15th subtract ½ hour. The planet positions are updated each Wednesday on this blog. For planet positions on dates other than the 15th, check the Wednesday planet posts on this blog.

January Morning Star Chart

January Morning Star Chart

Star Chart for January 2018 mornings based on 6 a.m. January 15th. Created using my LookingUp program. Click on image to enlarge.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations click here.

  • Pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris the North Star.
  • Leaky Big Dipper drips on Leo.
  • Follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper to the star Arcturus.
  • The Summer Triangle is in red
  • QuadR is the Quadrantid meteor shower radiant. Peaks on January 2nd, but the almost full moon will interfere this year.

Twilight

Evening nautical twilight ends at 6:22 p.m. EST on the 1st, increasing to 6:55 p.m. EST on the 31st.
Evening astronomical twilight ends at 6:57 p.m. EST on the 1st, increasing to 7:29 p.m. EST on the 31st.
Morning astronomical twilight starts at 6:35 a.m. EST on the 1st, and decreasing to 6:23 a.m. EST on the 31st.
Morning nautical twilight starts at 7:10 a.m. EST on the 1st, and decreasing to 6:57 a.m. EST on the 31st.

NASA Calendar of Planetary Events

    Date    Time    Event
Jan 01  Mo          Venus: 1.9° W
    01  Mo  2:59 pm Mercury Elongation: 22.7° W
    01  Mo  4:54 pm Moon Perigee: 356600 km
    01  Mo  7:01 pm Moon North Dec.: 20.1° N
    01  Mo  9:24 pm Full Moon
    02  Tu  9:59 pm Perihelion: 0.9833 AU
    03  We  2:50 pm Moon-Beehive: 2.3° N
    03  We  3:19 pm Quadrantid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 120
    04  Th  2:48 am Moon Ascending Node
    05  Fr  2:24 am Moon-Regulus: 0.9° S
    06  Sa  7:39 pm Mars-Jupiter: 0.2° N
    08  Mo  5:25 pm Last Quarter
    09  Tu  1:16 am Venus Superior Conjunction w/Sun
    11  Th 12:59 am Moon-Jupiter: 4.7° S
    13  Sa  2:58 am Mercury-Saturn: 0.7° N
    14  Su  9:09 pm Moon Apogee: 406500 km
    14  Su  9:13 pm Moon-Saturn: 2.9° S
    15  Mo 11:28 am Moon South Dec.: 20° S
    16  Tu  9:17 pm New Moon
    18  Th  9:28 am Moon Descending Node
    24  We  5:20 pm First Quarter
    27  Sa  5:09 am Moon-Aldebaran: 0.7° S
    29  Mo  6:32 am Moon North Dec.: 20° N
    30  Tu  4:54 am Moon Perigee: 359000 km
    31  We  2:19 am Moon-Beehive: 2.3° N
    31  We  8:27 am Full Moon
    31  We  8:30 am Total Lunar Eclipse (See Below)
    31  We  1:46 pm Moon Ascending Node
Feb 01  Th          Venus: 5.7° E

Sky Events Calendar by Fred Espenak and Sumit Dutta (NASA’s GSFC),
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SKYCAL/SKYCAL.html

If you go to the above site you can print out a list like the above for the entire year
or calendar pages for your time zone.

Sun and Moon Rising and Setting Events

     LU                  Ephemeris of Sky Events for Interlochen/TC
     January, 2018    Local time zone: EST
     +-----------------------------------------------------------------------+
     | DATE |  SUN     SUN  DAYLIGHT|   TWILIGHT*    |MOON  RISE OR    ILLUM |
     |      |  RISE    SET    HOURS |  END    START  |PHASE SET** TIME FRACTN|
     +=======================================================================+
     |Mon  1| 08:20a  05:13p  08:52 | 06:23p  07:09a |Full  Rise 05:11p  100%|
     |Tue  2| 08:20a  05:13p  08:53 | 06:24p  07:09a |      Rise 06:18p   99%|
     |Wed  3| 08:20a  05:14p  08:54 | 06:25p  07:10a |      Rise 07:30p   95%|
     |Thu  4| 08:20a  05:15p  08:55 | 06:25p  07:10a |      Rise 08:44p   88%|
     |Fri  5| 08:19a  05:16p  08:56 | 06:26p  07:10a |      Rise 09:56p   80%|
     |Sat  6| 08:19a  05:17p  08:58 | 06:27p  07:09a |      Rise 11:05p   70%|
     +------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
     |Sun  7| 08:19a  05:19p  08:59 | 06:28p  07:09a |      Rise 12:12a   60%|
     |Mon  8| 08:19a  05:20p  09:00 | 06:29p  07:09a |L Qtr Rise 01:17a   49%|
     |Tue  9| 08:19a  05:21p  09:02 | 06:30p  07:09a |      Rise 02:19a   39%|
     |Wed 10| 08:18a  05:22p  09:03 | 06:31p  07:09a |      Rise 03:20a   30%|
     |Thu 11| 08:18a  05:23p  09:05 | 06:32p  07:09a |      Rise 04:19a   22%|
     |Fri 12| 08:18a  05:24p  09:06 | 06:33p  07:08a |      Rise 05:16a   14%|
     |Sat 13| 08:17a  05:25p  09:08 | 06:34p  07:08a |      Rise 06:11a    8%|
     +------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
     |Sun 14| 08:17a  05:27p  09:10 | 06:36p  07:08a |      Rise 07:02a    4%|
     |Mon 15| 08:16a  05:28p  09:11 | 06:37p  07:07a |      Rise 07:49a    1%|
     |Tue 16| 08:15a  05:29p  09:13 | 06:38p  07:07a |New   Set  05:21p    0%|
     |Wed 17| 08:15a  05:31p  09:15 | 06:39p  07:06a |      Set  06:17p    1%|
     |Thu 18| 08:14a  05:32p  09:17 | 06:40p  07:06a |      Set  07:15p    3%|
     |Fri 19| 08:14a  05:33p  09:19 | 06:41p  07:05a |      Set  08:15p    8%|
     |Sat 20| 08:13a  05:34p  09:21 | 06:42p  07:05a |      Set  09:17p   14%|
     +------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
     |Sun 21| 08:12a  05:36p  09:23 | 06:44p  07:04a |      Set  10:20p   21%|
     |Mon 22| 08:11a  05:37p  09:25 | 06:45p  07:04a |      Set  11:24p   30%|
     |Tue 23| 08:10a  05:38p  09:28 | 06:46p  07:03a |      Set  12:30a   40%|
     |Wed 24| 08:10a  05:40p  09:30 | 06:47p  07:02a |F Qtr Set  01:38a   51%|
     |Thu 25| 08:09a  05:41p  09:32 | 06:48p  07:01a |      Set  02:48a   62%|
     |Fri 26| 08:08a  05:43p  09:34 | 06:50p  07:01a |      Set  03:59a   72%|
     |Sat 27| 08:07a  05:44p  09:37 | 06:51p  07:00a |      Set  05:09a   82%|
     +------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
     |Sun 28| 08:06a  05:45p  09:39 | 06:52p  06:59a |      Set  06:14a   90%|
     |Mon 29| 08:05a  05:47p  09:42 | 06:53p  06:58a |      Set  07:13a   96%|
     |Tue 30| 08:04a  05:48p  09:44 | 06:55p  06:57a |      Set  08:04a  100%|
     |Wed 31| 08:02a  05:50p  09:47 | 06:56p  06:56a |Full  Rise 06:15p  100%|
     +-----------------------------------------------------------------------+
     * Nautical Twilight
     ** Moonrise or moonset, whichever occurs between sunrise and sunset

Total Lunar Eclipse January 31, 2018

Lunar Eclipse January 31, 2018

I’ll have more on this toward the end of the month. Credit NASA.

The original page for this graphic is:  https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEplot/LEplot2001/LE2018Jan31T.pdf

    Total Lunar Eclipse January 31
Event               Time EST   Time UT
                    GT Area    
Enter penumbra      5:51 a.m.  10:51   Unseen
Begin partial phase 6:48 a.m.  11:48
Totality begins     7:51 a.m.  12:51
Moon sets           8:04 a.m.
Mid eclipse                    13:28
Totality ends                  14:07
End partial phase              15:11
Leave penumbra                 16:08   Unseen

The shading of the penumbra is generally seen within 1/2
hour before and after the partial begins and ends.

Update

Lunch time at the bird feeder

Our bird feeder at about 2 p.m. It was cleaned off and filled 6 hours before. Dining are a downy woodpecker, behind the suet block; a flicker with a seed in its beak and three chickadees. Can you spot the third?

While I was writing this post on the afternoon of the 30th, we were getting a rather intense lake effect snow storm, at about an inch an hour.  By nightfall the snow on top of the feeder just about reached the hook.  We also get cardinals, blue jays, sparrows.   Poor juncos.  They seem to feed on the ground, and the snow came too fast and covered the seed that had dropped, so they were looking in vain.

I really love the chickadees, they’re fearless.  When I’m filling the bird feeder the other birds scatter, but the chickadees sit in the tree, a couple of feet over my head and wait patiently until I hang it back up.

01/01/2016 – Ephemeris – Happy New Year – It’s a busy few days to start off the year

January 1, 2016 Comments off

Happy New Year.  This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for New Years Day, Friday, January 1st, 2016.  The Sun will rise at 8:20.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 52 minutes, setting at 5:12.   The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 12:54 tomorrow morning.

It’s always a busy time, astronomically speaking, around the start of the year.  This year even more so.  Comet Catalina is found near the bright star Arcturus now, which is a good way to find it in binoculars.  Tomorrow at 7:59 p.m. (1:59 UT 3rd) the Earth will reach perihelion, the closest point in its orbit to the Sun at about 91.4 million miles (0.9833 AU).  It doesn’t add much to the heat we get from the Sun, but it does make winter a couple of days shorter than summer.  Monday at 3 a.m. will see the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower.  Unfortunately that’s about the time the Moon will rise.  The radiant is north of the handle of the Big Dipper.  Good news:  tomorrow is the latest sunrise, it should be rising earlier until June.

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

Addenda

January Star Chart

Javnuary Star Chart

Star Chart for January 2016. Created using my LookingUp program. To enlarge in Firefox Right-click on image then click View Image.

The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 9 p.m. EST.  That is chart time.  Note, Traverse City is located 45 minutes behind our time meridian.  To duplicate the star positions on a planisphere you may have to set it to 45 minutes earlier than the current time.

Evening astronomical twilight ends at 6:22 p.m. EST on January 1st, increasing to 6:55 p.m. EST on the 31st.

Morning astronomical twilight starts at 7:09 a.m. EST on January 1st, and decreasing to 6:57 a.m. EST on the 31st.

Add a half hour to the chart time every week before the 15th and subtract and hour for every week after the 15th.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations click here.

  • Pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris the North Star.
  • QuadR is the Quadrantid meteor shower radiant

Calendar of Planetary Events

Credit:  Sky Events Calendar by Fred Espenak and Sumit Dutta (NASA’s GSFC)

To generate your own calendar go to http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SKYCAL/SKYCAL.html

Times are Eastern Time.  Some additions made to aid clarity.

     Date   Local      Event
            Time EST
Jan  01  Fr            Venus: 37.9° W
     02  Sa 12:30 a.m. Last Quarter
     02  Sa  6:53 a.m. Moon Apogee: 404300 km
     02  Sa  7:59 p.m. Perihelion: 0.9833 AU
     03  Su  1:45 p.m. Moon-Mars: 1.6° S
     04  Mo  3:01 a.m. Quadrantid Shower: ZHR = 120
     06  We  6:57 p.m. Moon-Venus: 3.3° S
     06  We 11:57 p.m. Moon-Saturn: 3.6° S
     07  Th  6:32 a.m. Venus-Antares: 6.4° N
     08  Fr 12:56 p.m. Moon South Dec.: 18.4° S
     09  Sa  2:42 a.m. Venus-Saturn: 0.1° N
     09  Sa  8:30 p.m. New Moon
     14  Th  9:02 a.m. Mercury Inferior Conj.
     14  Th 10:48 a.m. Moon Descending Node
     14  Th  9:10 p.m. Moon Perigee: 369600 km
     16  Sa  6:26 p.m. First Quarter
     19  Tu  9:16 p.m. Moon-Aldebaran: 0.5° S (Occultation*)
     21  Th 11:41 a.m. Moon North Dec.: 18.4° N
     23  Sa  8:46 p.m. Full Moon
     26  Tu 12:10 a.m. Moon-Regulus: 2.8° N
     27  We  6:58 p.m. Moon Ascending Node
     27  We  8:14 p.m. Moon-Jupiter: 1.6° N
     30  Sa  4:10 a.m. Moon Apogee: 404600 km
     31  Su 10:28 p.m. Last Quarter
Feb  01  Mo            Venus: 31.4° W

* Occultation of Aldebaran For the Grand Traverse Area ± 1-2 minutes:
Disappearance 9:06 p.m.  Reappearance 10:25 p.m.  I’ll have more information on the 19th.

Occultation Map

Occultation Map

Occultation visibility map for January 20, 2016 (UT). Credit IOTA/Occult4 program.

Estimating occultation timings for your location

I used Cartes du Ciel the free software that I have a link to on the right.  Make sure that the program is set for topocentric positions under Setup/Solar System.  And you have entered your position under Setup/Observatory.  You can find your location in Google Earth, or your GPS device or smart phone.

You can also use Stellarium.  Just make sure the Moon is normal sized.

In both programs you can lock the Moon or Aldebaran in the center of the screen Pick a time in advance of the occultation and using the set time window walk the star towards the Moon, mark the time.  Then walk the star out from the Moon and record the reappearance time.  That’s it.

This should work with other planetarium programs too.

For better accuracy go to the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) website.  Download and install their Occult4 program for Windows computers.  Follow the instructions.  When I ran the program for my location, the location I use for Interlochen/Traverse City (Since I live approximately half-way between the two).  I got results within a half-minute of the IOTA Occult4 program results.  So the approximation method using these planetarium programs is valid.

Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina)

Comet Catalina January 2016

The track of Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) for January 2016. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

The comet is roughly one magnitude fainter than given.  Comet is plotted every day at 4 a.m. EST (9 hr UT) with the date and magnitude labeled every 5th day.  According to the brightness graph the comet began to under perform in brightness back in September, however, according to a new brightness formula the comet may increase in brightness by a magnitude by late February when it will be well placed for viewing all night. To monitor the brightness reports from observers go to http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2013US10/2013US10.html.

xxxvvvvv

01/02/2015 – Ephemeris – Telescope Clinic tonight in Traverse City

January 2, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 2nd.  The sun will rise at 8:20, the latest sunrise of the year.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 53 minutes, setting at 5:13.   The moon, 2 days before full, will set at 6:38 tomorrow morning.

Did you or someone in your family get a telescope for Christmas, or have one in a closet or attic because you don’t know how to put it together or operate?  Or maybe you are trying to figure out which one to buy.  Well, tonight’s your night.  The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host a telescope clinic at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory on Birmley Road, south of Traverse City starting at 8 p.m.  Telescope experts from the society will help you set up your telescope and give you observing tips.  So bring ’em if you’ve got ’em.  If it’s clear, at 9 p.m., there will be a star party to try out your telescope, or try them out on the lights of Traverse City.  Can’t make it?  We can help you after any meeting.

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

Addenda

Remember the Quadrantid meteor shower tomorrow evening and into Sunday morning:

The moon will interfere with the meteor shower, so only the brightest will be visible.  The radiant will rise from the northeast.  The radiant will be nearly overhead at the start of twilight.  On a dark night up to 120 meteors per hour may be seen according to the International Meteor Organization.

Quadrantid meteor shower radiant at 1:30 a.m.

 

The Earth will reach perihelion Sunday.
This is the closest the Earth gets to the Sun in its orbit this year.  The Sun will be 91,402,000 miles or 147,096,000 kilometers away at around 1 a.m. January 4th, 2015 EST or 6 hr UT January 5th 2015.  It makes winter the shortest season because the Earth is moving its fastest during perihelion.  It’s only by a few days.  And in northern Michigan where it seems that winter overlaps half of fall and spring besides, that few days difference is buried under snow.

01/01/2015 – Ephemeris – Happy New Year – a look at January

January 1, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for New Years Day, Thursday, January 1st.  The sun will rise at 8:20.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 52 minutes, setting at 5:12.   The moon, 3 days before full, will set at 5:43 tomorrow morning.

Happy New Year.  Let’s preview the month of January.  We’re a day from the latest sunrise at about the same time as today, 8:20 a.m. and will back down to 8:02 by the 31st.  Sunset times are currently increasing by a minute a day from 5:12 p.m. today to 5:49 at month’s end.  Listeners near the shore of Lake Michigan will have about the same sunrise time in Ludington, Interlochen/Traverse City, Petoskey and Mackinaw City, but the sunset times will vary markedly.  The Quadrantid meteor shower whose radiant is near the end of the Big Dipper’s handle will reach peak on the 3rd, but it will have interference from the full moon,.  On the 4th the Earth will be its closest to the sun of the entire year.

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

Addenda

Monthly Star Chart

January 2015 star chart

Star Chart for January 2015. Created using my LookingUp program.

The Moon is not plotted.  The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 9 p.m.  That is chart time.

Evening astronomical twilight ends at 6:58 p.m. on January 1st, and increasing to 7:30 p.m. on the 31st.

Morning astronomical twilight starts at 6:34 a.m. on January 1st, and decreasing to 6:22 a.m. on the 31st.

Add a half hour to the chart time every week before the 15th and subtract and hour for every week after the 15th.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations click here.

The green pointer from the Big Dipper is the pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper that point to Polaris the North Star.

The Quadrantid meteor shower

The moon will interfere with the meteor shower, so only the brightest will be visible.  The radiant will rise from the northeast.  The radiant will be nearly overhead at the start of twilight.  On a dark night up to 120 meteors per hour may be seen according to the International Meteor Organization.

Quadrantid meteor shower radiant at 1:30 a.m.

Quadrantid meteor shower radiant at 1:30 a.m.

The Earth at Perihelion

This is the closest the Earth gets to the Sun in its orbit this year.  The Sun will be 91,402,000 miles or 147,096,000 kilometers away at around 1 a.m. January 4th, 2015 EST or 6 hr UT January 5th 2015.  It makes winter the shortest season because the Earth is moving its fastest during perihelion.  It’s only by a few days.  And in northern Michigan where it seems that winter overlaps half of fall and spring besides, that few days difference is buried under snow.

Quasi-conjunction between Venus and Mercury on the evening of January 10th.

A quasi-conjunction. Conjunctions occur when two solar system bodies have the same right ascension. Mercury will get to within 0.6 degrees of Venus before retreating back sun-ward.

Quasi-conjunction of Venus and Mercury

Animation of the Quasi-conjunction of Venus and Mercury. Time span 1/05/2015 to 1/15/2015 at 7 p.m. Created by Bob Moler using Stellarium and GIMP.

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy)

Here is a finder chart for 9 p.m. for January.  Every other position is marked with the month-day and predicted magnitude.  Recently the comet has shown to be brighter than predicted by up to one magnitude.  Note that magnitudes in astronomy are like golf scores – the lower the number, the brighter the object.  So the comet should reach 4th magnitude.

Comet Lovejoy

Nightly plot of Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) for the month of January, 2015 at 9 p.m.
Created using Cartes du Ceil (Sky Charts).

 

01/03/2014 – Ephemeris – Astronomy events in the Grand Traverse Region tonight.

January 3, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 3rd.  The sun will rise at 8:19.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 5:14.   The moon, 2 days past new, will set at 8:32 this evening.

We have a big night ahead.  At 1 a.m. the Earth will be closest to the Sun at perihelion.  In the morning hours the Quadrantid meteor shower will reach peak.  Before that the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will hold its monthly meeting at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers observatory on Birmley Road south of Traverse City starting at 8 p.m.  The program will be given by Richard Kuschell, who will talk about “Aristotle’s Big Mistake”.  Afterward, starting at 9 p.m. there will be a star party.  If its clear the winter wonders will be visible including the planet Jupiter and the Great Orion Nebula, the closest star nursery to us.  The meeting is free to the public.  There will be another program given during the star party.

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

Addendum

Quadrantid meteor shower radiant at 1:30 a.m.

Quadrantid meteor shower radiant at 1:30 a.m.

Great Orion Nebula in Orion's sword. My old photograph.

Great Orion Nebula in Orion’s sword. My old photograph.  What you’ll see will actually be better than this except our eyes will not perceive the red color.  It will look gray or greenish at best.

 

 

01/02/2014 – Ephemeris – Quadrantids and the Earth at Perihelion tomorrow night

January 2, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 2nd.  The sun will rise at 8:19, the latest sunrise of the year.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 5:14.   The moon, 1 day past new, will set at 7:16 this evening.  |  The Quadrantid meteor shower will be the best meteor shower of the year since the other showers will have to contend with the bright moon.  The best time to see them will be between midnight and 6:30 in the morning Friday night through Saturday morning.  They will seem to come from behind the Big Dipper’s handle.  Weird though it seems. At 1 a.m. Saturday morning the Earth will be closest to the sun in it’s orbit.  This is called perihelion.  The earth at that instant will be 91.45 million miles away.  On July 3rd it will be at its farthest, about 94 and a half million miles away.  This slight distance variance doesn’t affect us much except to make winter shorter than summer by a few days.  You probably won’t believe that either.

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

Addendum

Quadrantid meteor shower radiant at 1:30 a.m.

Quadrantid meteor shower radiant low in the noirtheast at 1:30 a.m.

The Bad Astronomer’s take on perihelion is here.

Also for this and the rest of the year here is David Dickinson’s 101 Astronomical Events for 2014 on Universe Today.

01/03/2013 – Ephemeris – The Quadrantid meteor shower will peak this morning.

January 2, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 3rd.  The sun will rise at 8:19.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 5:15.   The moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 12:06 tomorrow morning.

This morning will see the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower.  There’s still time to spot them before the sky brightens too much.  It’s one of the better meteor showers of the year, except it occurs in the cold and not very clear skies of January.  Meteor showers are generally named for the constellation from which they seem to come.  Trouble is, there’s no such constellation of the Quadrant.  Now, that is.  There is a sextant and an octant, but no quadrant.  All these instruments were used by navigators and astronomers to measure the altitude of stars and planets.  The obsolete constellation of the quadrant was located near the handle of the Big Dipper and north of the kite shaped spring constellation of Boötes.  The Quadrantids will be around for the next few mornings.

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

Addendum

Quadrantid meteor shower radiant at 1:30 a.m.

Quadrantid meteor shower radiant at 1:30 a.m.