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Posts Tagged ‘Rigel’

01/31/2022 – Ephemeris – The winter circle of bright stars

January 31, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, January 31st. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 5:50, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:01. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 8:48 tomorrow morning.

The winter skies are blessed with more first magnitude stars than any other season. Six of these stars lie in a large circle centered on the seventh, It’s called the Winter Circle. This circle is up in the evening. Starting high overhead is yellow Capella in Auriga the charioteer. Moving down clockwise is orange Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the Bull. Then down to Orion’s knee, we find blue-white Rigel. Down and left is the brightest star of all the brilliant white Sirius the Dog Star in Canis Major, lowest of these stars in the south-southeast. Moving up and left is white Procyon in Canis Minor, Above Procyon is Pollux in Gemini, the twins. All these are not quite centered on Betelgeuse, the bright red star in Orion’s shoulder.

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

Winter Circle

The bright stars of winter arrayed in a not so accurate circle. Some call it the Winter Hexagon. These stars are what make the winter sky so brilliant on the rare clear night in winter. Created using Stellarium.

01/06/2022 – Ephemeris – The named stars of Orion

January 6, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, January 6th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 5:18, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:19. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 10:07 this evening.

Orion is still on an angle, leaning to the left, at 8 to 9 pm in the southeastern sky. It’s seven brightest stars have names from antiquity, and some of them are familiar. Starting from the top left, the bright reddish star is famous Betelgeuse. The top right star is Bellatrix, a name familiar to Harry Potter fans. The three stars of his belt, from bottom to top, are Alnilam, Alnitak, and Mintaka. The final bottom two stars from left to right are Saiph, pronounced “safe”. And blue-white Rigel, usually the brightest star of the constellation. These are the stars of Orion’s shoulders, belt and knees. He has other stars that delineate an arm with an upraised club and an arm holding a lion skin shield and a sword hanging from his belt.

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's named stars

Orion’s named stars. Betelgeuse means “Armpit”. Bellatrix means “Female warrior”. The names of Orion’s belt stars refer to belt or girdle, Rigel refers to Orion’s foot. Saiph means sword, however Orion’s sword is the line of three stars below the belt stars. In binoculars, there’s more than three stars here. Around the second “star” of the sword is the Great Orion Nebula, barely visible here. Created using Stellarium.

01/12/2021 – Ephemeris – The celestial river Eridanus

January 12, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 12th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 5:25, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:17. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 8:58 tomorrow morning.

One of the more obscure constellations around is Eridanus, which depicts a river. The river starts near the lower right corner of Orion, near the bright star Rigel and flows to the right then down near the southwestern horizon, then it meanders along the horizon to the south before turning below the horizon. One has to travel to the far south to see the southern terminus of the river, the bright star Achernar. Writers over the ages have seen here the Nile and the Earth circling river Ocean of the flat earth days. Achernar is actually two stars, the brightest was discovered to be the flattest star known, due to its rapid spin. The dimensions of Achernar A has been determined to be twice as wide across its equator than from pole to pole. It’s 139 light years away.

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

Addendum

Eridanus

An animation of the constellation Eridanus which is a river that flows from Rigel in Orion to the star Achernar below our southern horizon at latitude 45 degrees north. Create using Stellarium and GIMP.

12/07/2020 – Ephemeris – Looking forward to the best of winter: Orion

December 7, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, December 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 5:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:07. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 12:25 tomorrow morning.

Orion, the central constellation of the winter evening sky will be completely risen by 9 this evening. Then it can be seen low in the east-southeast it’s upright rectangle of stars tilted to the left. The topmost star to the left in this rectangle is the famous red giant star Betelgeuse, which is reportedly dimming again. It’s in Orion’s shoulder. In his other shoulder is Bellatrix, a name known to Harry Potter fans. In his knees are Rigel, a blue-white giant star and Saiph. In the center of the rectangle are three stars in a straight line, now almost vertically arranged, Orion’s belt. And below his belt what seem to be three more stars, his sword. In the center of the sword stars can be found, with binoculars or telescope, Orion’s most famous feature, the Great Orion Nebula.

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

Addendum

Orion early December finder animation

Orion early December finder animation for 9 pm December 7th. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Orion's named stars

Orion’s named stars including the belt stars. Cursa, though named belongs to the neighboring constellation Eridanus the river. Created using Stellarium.

01/11/2019 – Ephemeris – The bright star in Orion’s knee: Rigel

January 11, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 11th. The Sun will rise at 8:18. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 4 minutes, setting at 5:23. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 10:55 this evening.

Yesterday I talked about the star Betelgeuse the bright red star in the top left of Orion’s upright rectangle. Orion is seen in the southeast at 9 in the evening. The blue-white star in Orion’s opposite corner is usually brighter. It is Rigel whose longer Arabic name of which Rigel is the first part means “Left Leg of the Giant”. Rigel is a giant itself, actually a super giant star, which is more a measure of its mass than its size, that of 23 solar masses. Its surface temperature is more than twice as hot as the sun. It is 120 thousand times as bright as the sun and 100 times its diameter. Its distance is around 860 light years. Those with telescopes might be able to spot a close companion star to Rigel, just at the edge of the bright arc light image of Rigel itself.

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

Addendum

Orion's brightest stars

Orion’s brightest stars with their names for 9 p.m. January 7, 2019. Click on the image to make Orion a giant hunter. Created using Stellarium..

Rigel A & B

Rigel with its companion star as photographed through a telescope. No attribution. Source: http://washedoutastronomy.com/content/urban-orion?page=1

01/08/2019 – Ephemeris – The river at Orion’s feet

January 8, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 8th. The Sun will rise at 8:19. It’ll be up for 9 hours exactly, setting at 5:19. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 7:55 this evening.

One of the more obscure constellations around is Eridanus, which depicts a river. The river starts near the lower right corner of Orion, near the bright star Rigel and flows to the right then down near the southwestern horizon, then it meanders along the horizon to the south before turning below the horizon. One has to travel to the far south to see the southern terminus of the river, the bright star Achernar. Writers over the ages have seen here the Nile and the earth circling river Ocean of the flat earth days. Achernar is actually two stars, the brightest was discovered to be the flattest star, due to its rapid spin. The dimensions of Achernar A has been determined to be twice as wide across its equator than from pole to pole. It’s 139 light years away.

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

Addendum

Eridanus

An animation of the constellation Eridanus which is a river that flows from Rigel in Orion to the star Achernar below our southern horizon at latitude 45 degrees north. Create using Stellarium and GIMP.

01/07/2019 – Ephemeris – The stars of Orion

January 7, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, January 7th. The Sun will rise at 8:19. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 59 minutes, setting at 5:18. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 6:57 this evening.

The seven bright stars of Orion now shine in the southeastern sky in the evening. Two shoulder stars, Betelgeuse, and Bellatrix, Two knee stars Saiph, and Rigel, In between are the three belt stars in a row, Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka. Betelgeuse and Rigel are first magnitude stars, among the brightest in the sky, while the others are second magnitude. As far as brightness goes it puts the Big Dipper to shame with its six second magnitude and one third magnitude stars. Of course we in northern Michigan have the Big Dipper always, because it never sets. Orion, only about six months. Due to its position straddling the equator of the sky, Orion is seen by all the people of the world. Parts of him are even seen at the north and south poles.

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

Addendum

Orion's brightest stars

Orion’s brightest stars with their names for 9 p.m. January 7, 2019. Click on the image to make Orion a giant hunter. Created using Stellarium..

 

02/22/2018 – Ephemeris – The blue-white star at Orion’s knee

February 22, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, February 22nd. The Sun will rise at 7:32. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 6:21. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 1:46 tomorrow morning.

The bright star at the bottom right corner of the big upright rectangle that is the giant hunter Orion’s body in the south-southeast is Rigel. It is a white star with a bluish tinge. It compares in brightness with Betelgeuse at the opposite end of Orion’s rectangle, though it’s usually a bit brighter. The mismatch in color makes brightness comparisons difficult. Rigel is about 860 light years away, It’s 23 times the mass of the Sun, 120 thousand the times brighter than the Sun, and a diameter almost the size of the orbit of Mercury. It’s age is thought to be about 8 million years. It has a visual companion star that can be seen in amateur telescopes. It’s not that dim, but suffers by being close to the arc light brightness of Rigel.

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

Addendum

Orion's named stars

Orion’s named stars including the belt stars. Created using Stellarium.

Rigel A & B

Rigel with its companion star as photographed through a telescope. No attribution. Source: http://washedoutastronomy.com/content/urban-orion?page=1

Categories: Ephemeris Program, Stars Tags: ,

02/12/2018 – Ephemeris – The Winter Circle

February 12, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 12th. The Sun will rise at 7:47. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 19 minutes, setting at 6:07. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 6:29 tomorrow morning.

The winter skies are blessed with more first magnitude stars than any other season. Six of these stars lie in a large circle centered on the seventh, It’s called the Winter Circle. This circle is up at 9 p.m. Starting high overhead is yellow Capella in Auriga the charioteer. Moving down clockwise is orange Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the Bull. Then down to Orion’s knee we find blue-white Rigel. Down and left is the brightest star of all the brilliant white Sirius the Dog Star in Canis Major, lowest of these stars in the south-southeast. Moving up and left is white Procyon in Canis Minor, Above Procyon is Pollux in Gemini the twins. All these are centered, well not quite, on Betelgeuse the bright red star in Orion’s shoulder.

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

Addendum

Winter Circle

The bright stars of winter arrayed in a circle (well almost). Created using Stellarium.

02/08/2018 – Ephemeris – The wonderfully named stars of Orion

February 8, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, February 8th. The Sun will rise at 7:53. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 8 minutes, setting at 6:01. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 3:09 tomorrow morning.

The constellation of Orion the hunter is visible in the south at 9 p.m. The stars of Orion are interesting in themselves. Starting at the top left of the seven bright stars of Orion’s torso is Betelgeuse the bright red star, whose name means something like “Armpit of the Giant”. The star in Orion’s other shoulder is Bellatrix the “Amazon Star”. Below are the three stars of Orion’s belt, from left to right; Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. Their names mean “Girdle”, “Belt of Pearls”, and “Belt” respectively. Down to Orion’s knees we look on the left to the star Saiph pronounced ‘safe’ which means “Sword”, though it is some ways from the stars of Orion’s sword. Finally there’s the bright blue-white star Rigel whose name means “Left Leg of the Giant”.

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

Addendum

Orion with star names.

The named stars of Orion. Created using Stellarium.

Betelgeuse, pronounced Beetlejuice is the name of a 1988 movie, where Betelgeuse (spelled properly) is a particularly mischievous demon.  Don’t say his name three times, or he’ll come and ‘help’ you.  Oops, I did.  It is a red giant star near the end of its life.

Bellatrix, is now known to most of us now as the first name as the first name of Bellatrix Lestrange from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book and movie series.  Other members of the Black family have astronomical names, such as Regulus (Leo) Black, and Sirius (Canis Major) Black.

The names of the belt stars were taught to me by Evelyn Grebel of the Grand Rapids Public Museum in the late 1950s.  She was one of the founders of the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association.  The names Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka have stuck with me ever since.  It was through her that I was able to worm my way into working at the museum’s new then unnamed planetarium.  I also remember being in her office with her, listening to the radio as Alan Shepard made his historic suborbital flight on May 5th, 1961.

Rigel is a hot blue-white star, and will probably become a red giant star like Betelgeuse.  There is another bright star named Rigel, but most don’t know it.  It’s Rigel Kentaurus, the leg of the centaur of Centaurus.  It’s better known as Alpha Centauri, a catalog designation, and the nearest star to the solar system.