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Posts Tagged ‘Scorpius’

06/17/2022 – Ephemeris – What’s that weird twinkly star low in the south?

June 17, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, June 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:30, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, halfway from full to last quarter, will rise at 12:55 tomorrow morning.

At this time of year, there is a star that appears low in the south-southeast that appears red and twinkles mightily. The twinkling caused by the Earth’s atmosphere is enhanced when viewing it in binoculars. In a telescope, it appears as a virtual sparkler. It’s been called in to authorities as a UFO, unidentified flying object, or as the Defense Department now calls them UAPs, or unidentified aerial phenomena. Anyway, this light is identified. It is the red giant star Antares, in the heart of Scorpius the scorpion, one of the constellations of the zodiac. Antares other claim to fame is embodied in its name. Decoded, Antares means Rival of Mars due to its color and the fact that Mars passes by every couple of years. Ant means anti, and Ares is the Greek god of war that the Romans appropriated as Mars.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Antares low in the SSE

Antares low in the south-southeast at 10:30 pm, June 17, 2022, without Mars for competition. At this time, Antares is only 13 degrees above the horizon. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created Using Stellarium and GIMP.

Scorpius at its highest

Scorpius at its highest as seen from the Grand Traverse area. Antares at this time is not quite 19 degrees altitude. This is 1 am, June 18th. Perceptive viewers of this image may spot a teapot in the stars to the left of Scorpius. That’s what we modern folk see in the stars of Sagittarius the archer. Created using Stellarium.

07/29/2021 – Ephemeris – Anishinaabe constellation of their hero

July 29, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, July 29th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 9:11, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:27. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 12:17 tomorrow morning. | Tuesday I talked about the constellation Scorpius the scorpion now seen low in the southern sky in the evening. To me, the stars here make a very good scorpion. Scorpius was invented by people of the Middle East, where scorpions are plentiful. The Anishinaabe native peoples of our area, however, saw one of their legendary hero figures, Nenabozho*. In the sky, the arc of three stars at the front of the scorpion and to the right of the bright star Antares is his bow. He is shooting an arrow toward the receding Great Panther or Curly Tail a constellation of spring whose curl of a tail is the head of the constellation Leo, now lost in the evening twilight in the west. Nenabozho was a hero in their creation stories, a trickster who was often seen as a rabbit.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

Addenda

* Nenabozho is pronounced like Nana-bouz-hou, though different tribes pronounced it differently. I could not find Nenabozho and its various other transliterations, one of which was Nanaboozhoo in the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary (https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu/). However, since he occasionally shape-shifted into being a rabbit his name includes a part of the name for rabbit, waabooz. That entry had several audio examples. That’s how I got the pronunciation for the radio program.

Finder chart

Nenabozho animated finder chart

Animated finder for the Anishinaabe constellation of Nenabozho showing the unannotated star field, the Western constellation of Scorpius and Nenabozho. Created using Stellarium (both star lore images are embedded in Stellarium). The Anishinaabe image is embedded in Stellarium and is from Ojibwe Giizhig Anung Masinaaigan – Ojibiwe Sky Star Map created by A. Lee, W. Wilson, and C. Gawboy.

 

07/27/2021 – Ephemeris – The celestial scorpion crawls over the southern horizon

July 27, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, July 27th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 9:14, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:24. The Moon, halfway from full to last quarter, will rise at 11:37 this evening.

There’s a large constellation located low in the south around 10:30, 11 o’clock tonight. It’s Scorpius the scorpion. Its brightest star is Antares in its heart, a red giant star, that I used to get calls about from time to time as being a UFO. 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 here, Scorpius shares with the rising and setting sun and moon the illusion of increased size.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Scorpius animated finder with claw stars

Scorpius animated finder for 10:30 pm July 27th. The Arabs saw a bigger scorpion with Antares in the upper part of its body, the arc of three stars near its head and its claws extending to Zubeneschamali (North Claw) and Zubenelgenubi (South Claw). The latter two stars belong to Libra the scales. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

08/13/2020 – Ephemeris – Sagittarius the archer, morphs into a teapot

August 13, 2020 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, August 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 8:50, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:44. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 1:53 tomorrow morning.

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. Jupiter and Saturn are just to the left of it now.

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

Addendum

Sagittarius-Teapot finder animation

Sagittarius-Teapot finder animation for 10 pm August 13, 2020. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

06/09/2020 – Ephemeris – The constellation of the crow and a star often mistaken for a UFO

June 9, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 9th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 9:27, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 1:06 tomorrow morning.

I don’t want spring to get away from us without pointing out a small but distinctive constellation now low in the southwest at 11 pm called Corvus the crow that to me looks like an odd shaped box. Wider at the bottom than the top and left side taller than the right. It’s supposed to be a crow in flight diagonally to the upper right. I find it easy to find by that odd shaped box. Also at 11 pm, the summer constellation of Scorpius the scorpion is rising with its bright red star Antares twinkling madly. This red giant star stays low in the southern sky, so we always, here in Michigan, see it through lots of atmosphere whose turbulence accentuates its twinkling. I call it my UFO star. It’s a riot in binoculars or a telescope.

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

Addendum

Corvus and Antares

Corvus the crow and Antares the star in Scorpius at 11 pm tonight, June 9, 2020. Created using Stellarium and its embedded art. This is not how I see either constellation. Everyone gets to use their own imagination. Mine doesn’t agree with either image, but I’m not artistic enough to show how I imagine them. Though for Corvus I just see the distinctive box. Click on the image to enlarge it.

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.

06/24/2019 – Ephemeris – Ophiuchus the serpent bearer

June 24, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, June 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:32, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:58. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 2 tomorrow morning.

The planet Jupiter shines brightly in the south-southeast at 11 p.m. In the area of sky above it lies a large constellation of faint stars called Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer. Ophiuchus represents the legendary physician Aesculapius. 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 struggling to pull up a heavy barbell. Serpens, the constellation of the serpent is in the sky in two sections. The front end lies to the right as Serpens Caput, and wends its way up towards Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. Serpens Cauda, the tail rises to the left of Ophiuchus. It’s a rewarding sight, and not that hard to spot.

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 for 11 p.m. June 24, 2019. Also showing the constellation boundaries. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

 

02/22/2019 – Ephemeris – Orion is a hard luck hero

February 22, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, February 22nd. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 6:20, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:30. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 10:19 this evening.

We come back to the central constellation of the winter sky Orion the hunter, holding out in the south-southwest at 9 p.m. with his three stars of his belt in a straight line, with his 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 Winter Maker, who stretches his arms from Aldebaran in Taurus to Procyon in Canis Minor. When he rides high 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

Orion

Orion as he is seen tonight at 9 p.m. February 22, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Scorpius chases Orion from the skies

Scorpius, rising in the southeast, chases Orion, setting in the west, from the skies. February 23, at 2:44 a.m. any year.

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.