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07/24/2017 – Ephemeris – The celestial scorpion

July 24, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, July 24th. The Sun rises at 6:20. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 9:16. The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 10:12 this evening.

Crawling just above the southern horizon at 11 p.m. is the zodiacal constellation of Scorpius the scorpion. His heart is the red giant star Antares. Its facing the west or right with a short arc of three stars as its head. His body and tail drop to the left and scrape the horizon before curving up to the critter’s poisonous stinger of two stars. It really makes a great scorpion. One story of the scorpion concerns Orion the hunter the great winter constellation. In that story Orion was killed by the sting of a scorpion. Therefore Orion and Scorpius are never seen in the sky at the same time. That is certainly true around here and for the Greeks, whose legend it is. However if one travels far enough south that is no longer true.

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

Addendum

Scorpius

Scorpius finder chart for 10:30 p.m., July 24, 2017. Created using Stellarium, which has a bug in the newest version and is also showing Ophiuchus.

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08/02/2016 – Ephemeris – The Scorpion has visitors this year

August 2, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 2nd.  The Sun rises at 6:30.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 9:06.  The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

There’s a large constellation located low in the south as it gets dark about 10:30 tonight  It’s Scorpius the scorpion.  Its brightest star is Antares in its heart, a red giant star whose name means “Rival of Mars”.  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 near the horizon before coming back up and ending in a pair of stars that portray his poisonous stinger.  This year the planet Saturn appears almost directly above Antares.  Tonight Mars is right of Antares.  On the 23rd of this month Mars will pass just above

Antares, between it and Saturn, making line of three bright objects.  Mars is currently brighter than Antares.

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

Addendum

Scorpius with Mars and Saturn

Scorpius with Mars and Saturn at 10:30 p.m. August 2, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

The red lines are the official constellation boundaries by the International Astronomical Union.  From the look of some of the boundaries, astronomers apparently gerrymander as well as our politicians.

For those unfamiliar with gerrymandering put “gerrymander” in your favorite search engine or Wikipedia.

12/23/2013 – Ephemeris – The constellation Orion: The hard luck hero

December 23, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, December 23rd.  The sun will rise at 8:17.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:06.   The moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:29 this evening.

The large and bright constellation of Orion is now in the southeast at 9 p.m.  It is seen as an upright rectangle of bright stars tilting to the left, his shoulders and knees, with a belt of three stars in the center.  Orion is a minor character in Greek mythology, much less celebrated than Hercules, which has a dim constellation named for him.  Orion was a hunter.  He had an ill-fated romance with Merope, whose father King Oenopion, had him blinded.  After having his sight restored, Orion became a companion of Diana goddess of the hunt and they wanted to marry.  Apollo, Diana’s brother disapproved of Orion also and was able to trick Diana into accidentally killing Orion with her bow.  Another story had Orion dying of a scorpion sting.

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

Addendum

Orion and Taurus

Taurus and Orion with Orion’s brightest stars named. Created using Stellarium.

07/09/2013 – Ephemeris – Thank goodness this is as close as scorpions get to northern Michigan

July 9, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, July 9th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 9:28.   The moon, 1 day past new, will set at 9:58 this evening.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:07.

Crawling just above the southern horizon at 11 p.m. is the zodiacal constellation of Scorpius the scorpion.  His heart is the red giant star Antares.  Its facing the west or right with a short arc of three stars as its head.  His body and tail drop to the left and scrape the horizon before curving up to the critter’s poisonous stinger of two stars.  It really makes a great scorpion.  One story of the scorpion concerns Orion the hunter the great winter constellation.  In that story Orion was killed by the sting of a scorpion.  Therefore Orion and Scorpius are never seen in the sky at the same time.  That is certainly true around here and for the Greeks, whose legend it is.  However if one travels far enough south that is no longer true.

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

Addendum

Scorpius

Scorpius at 11 p.m. on July 9, 2013. Credit Stellarium. I don’t agree with the artist’s drawing of the scorpion. To me it’s larger. The arc of three stars in the drawing’s right claw to me is its head and start of the claw appendages. I’ve added two star names from the constellation of Libra to the right. The Arabic translation of Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi is North Claw and South Claw respectively. At one time Scorpius was larger than it is depicted today. Click on the image to enlarge.