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Posts Tagged ‘Scorpius’

01/16/2018 – Ephemeris – More thoughts about Orion and the Wintermaker

January 16, 2018 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 16th. The Sun will rise at 8:15. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 13 minutes, setting at 5:29. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

We come back to the central constellation of the winter sky Orion the hunter, now in the southeast at 9 p.m. with his three stars of his belt in a straight line, with his upper shoulder stars above and knees below. In one Greek story he was killed by the sting of a scorpion so the gods made sure the rising of the constellation Scorpius would chase him out of the sky to the west. To the Greeks he was a hapless hero. Orion is mentioned in the Bible in the book of Job. The name for Orion in Hebrew is Kesil, meaning “Fool”. To the native peoples around the Great Lakes, the stars here are those of the Wintermaker, who stretches his arms from Aldebaran in Taurus to Procyon in Canis Minor. When he is in the evening sky it is indeed winter.

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

Addendum

As the scorpion approaches Orion makes a hasty exit

When the scorpion (Scorpius) crawls over the southeastern horizon, Orion takes a powder to the west. This is about 5 a.m. in mid January. Created using Stellarium.

Orion-Wintermaker finder animation

Orion-Wintermaker finder animation for 9 p.m., January 16. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

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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.

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.