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Posts Tagged ‘Scorpius’

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.

06/13/2017 – Ephemeris – I call Antares the UFO star

June 13, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 31 minutes, setting at 9:28, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 12:22 tomorrow morning.

Last week I was observing and showing another person the sky when she remarked about that star low in the sky. That star happened to be Antares, which I call the UFO star. This is a red giant star which in Interlochen and Traverse City never rises above 19 degrees over the southern horizon. It is located in the heart of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. With the turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere, being more marked for objects low in the sky, Antares twinkles mightily. And also being low in the sky, the atmosphere also breaks Antares’ light into a rainbow of colors which, under binocular and telescopic magnification can give the appearance of a multicolored sparkler.

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

Addendum

Antares, Saturn and Jupiter

The star Antares in the heart of Scorpius and the planets Saturn and Jupiter at 11 p.m., June 1, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Antares

The star Antares in long exposure in this image probably taken from farther south than here. Source unknown, however because the star has four diffraction spikes the photograph was taken with a reflector telescope whose secondary mirror is supported by a 4 vane “spider”.

Categories: Ephemeris Program, stars Tags: ,

08/04/2016 – Ephemeris – Mars’ lookalike star

August 4, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, August 4th.  The Sun rises at 6:32.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 9:03.  The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 10:01 this evening.

As it gets dark this evening a bright reddish star will appear low in the south. It will appear to twinkle mightily.  It is not the planet Mars, which is brighter and to the right of it, but its rival the star Antares in Scorpius the scorpion.  The star’s name, Antares, notes the rivalry.  “Ant” means anti, while “Ares” is the Greek name for the Roman god Mars.  Antares literally means “Rival of Mars”.  Antares appears red due to its cool surface temperature of 3,600 Kelvin, much cooler than the sun’s 6,000 Kelvin, while Mars is red due to rust.  Watch nightly as Mars slowly approaches Antares, and will pass it on the 24th.  Being always low in the sky, Antares’ spectacular twinkling has sparked more than a few emails about a strange light in the sky.

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

Addendum

Mars approaching Antares

Animation of Mars approaching Antares from August 4 to the 24th, 2016 at 10 p.m. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

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.

07/10/2015 – Ephemeris – The celestial scorpion crawls over the horizon

July 10, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, July 10th.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 9:28.   The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 2:44 tomorrow morning, and tomorrow the Sun will rise at 6:07.

The planet Saturn, this year, is on the right edge of the constellation of Scorpius the scorpion which is in the south at 11 p.m.  Its brightest star is Antares in its heart, a red giant star.  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.  Scorpius looks huge lying on the southern horizon.  But if you go south Scorpius will be higher in the sky, and will look smaller.  Being close to the horizon from Michigan, Scorpius shares with the rising and setting sun and moon the illusion of increased size.

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

Addendum

Scorpius

Scorpius from Traverse City/Interlochen at 11 p.m. on July 10, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

06/08/2015 – Ephemeris – Libra in the balance

June 8, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, June 8th.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 28 minutes, setting at 9:26.   The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 1:46 tomorrow morning and tomorrow the Sun will rise at 5:57.

One of the constellations of the Zodiac or circle of animals isn’t either animal or human.  It is Libra the Scales or balance.  It lies low in the southeastern sky at 11 p.m., just to the right of the rising Saturn and Scorpius the scorpion.  Libra, it seems, is an afterthought, a simple diamond shape of four stars.  Its two brightest stars Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi translate to the north and south claw respectively, of Scorpius to the left of it.  The Arabs, at least, seemed to view this as part of Scorpius.  The balance was perhaps to signify the equality of day and night, at the time the sun was in this part of the sky at the start of autumn, over 2000 years ago.  Now its in Virgo.

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

Addendum

Libra

Libra with Saturn and Scorpius rising behind in the southeast at 10:30 p.m. on June 8, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

10/01/2014 – Ephemeris – Let’s start off the month with a look at the bright planets

October 1, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, October 1st.  The sun will rise at 7:40.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 42 minutes, setting at 7:23.   The moon, at first quarter today, will set at 12:43 tomorrow morning.

Let’s check out the bright planets for this week.  Mars and Saturn are in the southwestern sky at 8:30 p.m. with Mars above the equally bright and red star Antares with Saturn a ways right of them and as high in the sky as Antares.  Saturn will set at 9:16 p.m.  Mars is in the constellation of Ophiuchus as astronomers draw constellation boundaries, though it looks to be in Scorpius.  Mars will set at 10:04.  In the morning sky brilliant Jupiter will rise in the east-northeast at 3:02 a.m.  Venus will rise about a half hour before the sun, so it will not be visible.  On the 25th of this month Venus will be in superior conjunction with the sun, that is it will move behind the sun, and will then enter the evening sky.

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

Addendum

Evening planets

Saturn and Mars with the evening constellations, showing constellation boundaries in red at 8:30 p.m. on October 1, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Saturn

Saturn through a telescope. Of the satellites only Titan should be visible with Saturn so low in the sky at 8:30 p.m. Created using Stellarium.

Moon

The first quarter Moon tonight at 8:30 p.m. with some interesting locations. Created using Virtual Moon Atlas.

Points of interest on the moon tonight:

  • Alpine Valley – This is a fault valley some 79 miles (130 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide through the lunar Alps.
  • Straight Wall – This is a fault that runs north-south on the moon and is only seen either one day after first quarter or one day after last quarter.  It is 67 miles (110 km) long and 900 feet (300 meters) high.  But instead of being a wall, it has only a 7 degree slope, which explains its brief appearance.  Tonight it will cast a shadow.  One day after last quarter the sun will shine directly on the slope, which is covered by lighter material and will show as a bright line.
Jupiter and the morning stars

Jupiter and the winter stars at 6:30 a.m. on October 2, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter

Jupiter and its satellites as seen through a telescope at 6:30 a.m. October 2, 2014. Created using Stellarium.