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Posts Tagged ‘Sagittarius’

08/22/2019 – Ephemeris – Scanning the Milky Way in and around Sagittarius

August 22, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, August 22nd. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 44 minutes, setting at 8:37, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:54. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 12:10 tomorrow morning.

Tuesday I talked about finding the teapot shaped asterism or informal shape in the stars where the constellation Sagittarius is. Once that is found, a pair of binoculars will help find many fuzzy wonders in the Milky Way here. Mostly we are looking at the next spiral arm in toward the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The star clusters and nebulae here are from 5,000 to 10,000 light years away, a good deal farther than the Great Orion Nebula we see in winter, which is much closer. We are also looking at a much brighter and more populous arm of the Milky Way than the one the Sun happens to be in. We are in a vast spiral galaxy whose center is 27,000 light years away beyond the star and dust clouds above the teapot’s spout.

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

Addendum

The sky around Sagittarius and Scorpius at 10 p.m. August 22, 2019. The objects noted will appear as fuzzy objects in binoculars. Dotted circles are open or galactic star clusters which are easily resolved in small telescopes. Crossed circles are globular star clusters, which require larger telescopes to resolve. Squares are emission nebulae, bright clouds of gas, illuminated by the young stars born within them. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

We call these objects Deep Sky Objects or DSOs.  Unnamed objects are dimmer than named objects.

08/20/2019 – Ephemeris – To find Sagittarius, look for the Teapot

August 20, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 20th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 8:40, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:51. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:16 this evening.

Due south and low in the sky at 10:30 p.m. now is one of my favorite asterisms the Teapot of the constellation Sagittarius. Sagittarius classically represents a centaur with a bow and arrow aimed at the heart of the constellation Scorpius to its west. I can find the bow and arrow here, but the half man half horse figure of the centaur eludes me. However the stout little teapot of the children’s song is quite obvious, with its base, lid on top, handle to the left and the spout to the right. To make things more realistic the bright Milky Way seems to rise like steam from its spout. As the night goes on the Teapot slides westward and appears to tilt, pouring its tea on the southwestern horizon. Saturn this year is above and left of it.

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

Addendum

Sagittarius Teapot finder animation based of August 20, 2019 at 10:30 p.m. It includes the tiny asterism Terebellum, Latin for auger. It’s made to faint 4th and 5th magnitude stars. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

07/26/2019 – Ephemeris – Scorpius the starry scorpion crawls over the southern horizon

July 26, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, July 26th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 53 minutes, setting at 9:15, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:23. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 2:11 tomorrow morning.

There’s a large constellation located low in the south at about about 11 tonight. It’s Scorpius the scorpion. Its brightest star is Antares in its heart, a red giant star, that I get calls about from time to time as being a UFO. With bright Jupiter above and left of it, it won’t be as noticeable. From Antares to the right is a star then a vertical arc of three stars that is its head. The Scorpion’s tail is a line of stars running down to the left of Antares swooping to the horizon before coming back up and ending in a pair of stars that portray his poisonous stinger. There is a beautiful star cluster seen in binoculars at that first bend in the tail that is unfortunately too low to appreciate from this far north. I was very impressed with it when spotting it from the Florida Keys when I was down there in 1986 observing Halley’s Comet.

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

Addendum

Animated finder chart for Scorpius the scorpion for 11 p.m. July 26, 2019. A year from now Jupiter will be just pass where Saturn is, and Saturn will be just off the frame of this image. Also note the “Teapot” asterism of Sagittarius just left of the scorpion with the Milky Way as steam rising from its spout.

09/03/2018 – Ephemeris – Looking for Sagittarius, Centaur or Teapot

September 3, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Labor Day, Monday, September 3rd. The Sun will rise at 7:07. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 8 minutes, setting at 8:15. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:08 tomorrow morning.

The Milky Way runs from northeast to south through the heavens at 10 p.m. The Milky Way is brighter and broader just above the horizon in the south. In that glow in the south is a star pattern that looks like a stout little teapot, with a bright stream of the Milky Way rising from the spout, which faces the west. This pattern of stars is the major part of the constellation called Sagittarius. This year the planet Saturn appears right above it.  According to Greek mythology Sagittarius is a centaur with a bow and arrow poised to shoot Scorpius the scorpion setting in the southwest. This centaur is Chiron, the most learned of the breed, centaurs usually being a rowdy bunch. The center of the pin wheel of our Milky Way galaxy lies hidden beyond the stars above the spout of the teapot.

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

Addendum

Sagittarius Finder animation

Sagittarius Finder animation for 10 p.m. September 3, 2018. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

07/09/2018 – Ephemeris – Ophiuchus. the serpent bearer in the sky

July 9, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, July 9th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 9:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:07. The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 3:50 tomorrow morning.

The red star Antares shines in the south at 11 p.m. In the constellation of Scorpius. In the area of sky above and a little to the left lies a large constellation of faint stars called Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer. The constellation shape is like a large bell, which reminds me of the head, shoulders and arms of a fellow that’s holding the snake-like a weight lifter pulling up a heavy barbell. The serpent he’s holding is Serpens, the only two-part constellation in the heavens. The head rises to Ophiuchus’ right and the tail extends up to the left. In Greek legend Ophiuchus was a great physician, educated by the god Apollo, and the centaur Chiron, also found in the stars as Sagittarius, now rising below and left of him.

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

Addendum

Ophiuchus finder animation

Ophiuchus finder animation plus constellations discussed. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

03/29/2018 – Ephemeris – The Easter date is set by the first full moon of spring and a developing conjunction

March 29, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, March 29th. The Sun will rise at 7:29. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 37 minutes, setting at 8:06. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 7:21 tomorrow morning.

This Sunday, April 1st will be Easter for western churches. Because it falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon since March 21st. The Full Moon is Saturday the 31st. It happens that Passover begins at sundown the 31st. Orthodox churches will celebrate Easter on April 8th, a week later. It’s going to be a somewhat busy weekend in the sky also. Sunday Mercury will pass from the evening sky to the morning sky in an event called an inferior conjunction of the Sun. It is not visible, but folks in the southern hemisphere will easily spot Mercury late in April. In the morning sky Mars will pass below Saturn between the mornings of the 2nd and 3rd. They are close to the same brightness, but Mars is distinctly redder.

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

Addendum

Conjunction animation of Mars passing Saturn

Conjunction animation of Mars passing Saturn at daily intervals at 6 a.m. for March 30 to April 4, 2018. This will occur above the Teapot asterism of the constellation of Sagittarius. Created using Stellarium ans GIMP.

08/24/2017 – Ephemeris – Centaur or Teapot?

August 24, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, August 24th. The Sun rises at 6:55. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 36 minutes, setting at 8:32. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 10:17 this evening.

This time of year when the bright Moon near full is reluctant leave the evening sky the Moon after New is taking its time to enter the evening sky. Three days after new and the Moon sets at the end of twilight. At that time the constellation of Sagittarius the archer is low and due south in our sky. Sagittarius is a centaur, one of two in the sky. These half man and half horse creatures are rarely seen outside of Harry Potter movies. Since we’re more familiar with teapots, the stars here make a very passable stout little teapot of the children’s song. The Milky Way even looks like steam rising from the spout. And as the night progresses or the days go by, the teapot will tilt to pour its tea on the southwestern horizon.

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

Addendum

Sagittarius finder

Sagittarius finder animation for 2017 with Saturn nearby. Created using Stellarium and GIMP