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Posts Tagged ‘Sirius’

02/12/2018 – Ephemeris – The Winter Circle

February 12, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 12th. The Sun will rise at 7:47. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 19 minutes, setting at 6:07. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 6:29 tomorrow morning.

The winter skies are blessed with more first magnitude stars than any other season. Six of these stars lie in a large circle centered on the seventh, It’s called the Winter Circle. This circle is up at 9 p.m. Starting high overhead is yellow Capella in Auriga the charioteer. Moving down clockwise is orange Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the Bull. Then down to Orion’s knee we find blue-white Rigel. Down and left is the brightest star of all the brilliant white Sirius the Dog Star in Canis Major, lowest of these stars in the south-southeast. Moving up and left is white Procyon in Canis Minor, Above Procyon is Pollux in Gemini the twins. All these are centered, well not quite, on Betelgeuse the bright red star in Orion’s shoulder.

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

Addendum

Winter Circle

The bright stars of winter arrayed in a circle (well almost). Created using Stellarium.

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01/22/2018 – Ephemeris – The Pup

January 22, 2018 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, January 22nd. The Sun will rise at 8:11. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 25 minutes, setting at 5:37. The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 11:24 this evening.

Sirius is the brightest night-time star and is located in the southeast at 9 p.m. below and a bit left of Orion the Hunter. We’ve visited Sirius last week. There is another star in the Sirius system that is practically invisible due to its dazzling glare. It’s Sirius B, nicknamed the Pup, alluding to Sirius’ Dog Star title. The tiny star was suspected as far back as 1834 due to Sirius’ wavy path against the more distant stars. Sirius is only 8.6 light years away. Sirius A and the Pup have 50 year orbits of each other. The star was first seen by Alvan Clark in 1862 while testing a new telescope. The Pup was the first of a new class of stars called white dwarfs. The Pup is about the size of the Earth, with the mass of our Sun, and 5 times hotter than the Sun’s surface. It’s out of fuel and slowly collapsing.

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

Addendum

Orion and Canis Major

Orion and Canis Major Animation for 9 p.m. January 20, 2017. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Sirius' path

Sirius A & B’s path in the sky showing the wobble that betrayed the Pup’s presence. Credit Mike Guidry, University of Tennessee.

Sirius A and B

Sirius A and B (near the diffraction spike to the lower left), A Hubble Space Telescope photograph. Credit NASA, ESA.

01/19/2018 – Ephemeris – Orion’s large hunting dog

January 19, 2018 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, January 19th. The Sun will rise at 8:14. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 19 minutes, setting at 5:33. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 8:15 this evening.

The brightest star-like object in the evening sky is Sirius, also known as the Dog Star. It also is the brightest night-time star in our skies period. Tonight at 9 p.m. it’s located low in the southeastern sky. The Dog Star name comes from its position at the heart of the constellation Canis Major, the great dog of Orion the hunter, which is seen almost like he’s begging, feet to the right. The three stars of Orion’s belt tilt to the southeast and point to Sirius. The name Sirius means ‘Scorcher’, a reference to its great brilliance and twinkling. To me it has a blue tinge like an arc light in a telescope. Its Egyptian name was Sothis, and its appearance in the dawn skies in late June signaled the flooding of the Nile, and the beginning of the Egyptian agricultural year.

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

Addendum

Orion and Canis Major

Orion and Canis Major Animation for 9 p.m. tonight. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

12/18/2017 – Ephemeris – The little dog shall lead

December 18, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, December 18th. The Sun will rise at 8:14. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:03. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

The constellation Orion has two hunting dogs. At 9 p.m. we’ll see one of them, the lesser dog, Canis Minor whose bright star Procyon is low in the East. Just two stars mark the constellation. Is it a dachshund or maybe a hot dog? The name Procyon means “Before the dog”, an odd title. It means that though east of Sirius, the bright dog star in Orion’s large dog, Canis Major, it rises before Sirius, due to its more northerly position in the sky. At 9 Sirius is just rising in the east-southeast. In many ways Procyon is nearly a twin of Sirius. It shines with the same white color, although a bit cooler, and has a white dwarf companion like Sirius. It’s a bit farther away than Sirius’ 8.6 light years. Procyon is at a distance of 11.46 light years.

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

Addendum

Procyon rising before Sirius

Stars and constellations in the east at 9 p.m., about 4 hours after sunset, on December 18th. This only works for locations above 30 degrees north latitude. Created using Stellarium.

02/16/2017 – Ephemeris – The Winter Circle

February 16, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, February 16th.  The Sun will rise at 7:40.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 6:12.  The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 12:17 tomorrow morning.

The winter skies are blessed with more first magnitude stars than any other season.  These are the twenty-one brightest stars in the sky.  Six of these stars lie in a large circle centered on the seventh.  This circle is up all evening now that we are in the heart of winter.  Starting high overhead is Capella in Auriga the charioteer.  Moving clockwise, we come to Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the Bull.  Then down to Orion’s knee we find Rigel.  Down and left is the brightest star of all Sirius the Dog Star in Canis Major Orion’s large hunting dog, lowest of these stars in the south.  Moving up and left there is Procyon in Canis Minor, Then above it is Pollux in Gemini the twins.  All are centered on Betelgeuse in Orion.

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

Addendum

The Winter Circle of 1st magnitude stars

The Winter Circle of 1st magnitude stars. Created using my LookingUp program.

02/07/2017 – Ephemeris – Sirius: an important star in history

February 7, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, February 7th.  The Sun will rise at 7:53.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 6:00.  The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 5:53 tomorrow morning.

The brightest star-like object in the evening sky is Sirius, also known as the Dog Star.  It also is the brightest night-time star in our skies period.  Tonight at 9 p.m. it’s located in the southeastern sky.  The Dog Star name comes from its position at the heart of the constellation Canis Major, the great dog of Orion the hunter.  The three stars of Orion’s belt tilt to the southeast and point to Sirius.  The name Sirius means ‘Dazzling One’, a reference to its great brilliance and twinkling.  Its Egyptian name was Sothis, and its appearance in the dawn skies in late June signaled the flooding of the Nile, and the beginning of the Egyptian agricultural year.  Sirius owes much of its brightness to the fact that it lies quite close to us, only about 8 light years away.

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

Addendum

Heliacal rising of Sirius

A simulation of the heliacal rising of Sothis (Sirius) with the Egyptian Pyramids circa 2000 BC.  Note that Sirius is just visible to the right of the nearest Pyramid. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

A heliacal rising is the first appearance of a star or planet in the morning after disappearing weeks or months before in the evening twilight.

01/26/2017 – Ephemeris – Is it a dachshund or a hot dog?

January 26, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 26th.  The Sun will rise at 8:07.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 36 minutes, setting at 5:43.  The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:40 tomorrow morning.

The constellation Orion has two hunting dogs.  We’ve seen Canis Major the greater dog at Orion’s feet with Sirius in its heart.  The lesser dog, Canis Minor is level with Betelgeuse in Orion’s shoulder and off to the left.  Just two stars mark it.  Is it a dachshund or is it a hot dog?  You decide.  It’s brighter star’s name is Procyon which means “Before the dog”, an odd title.  It means that though east of Sirius, it rises before Sirius, due to its more northerly position in the sky.  In many ways Procyon is nearly a twin of Sirius.  It shines with the same white color, although a bit cooler, and has a white dwarf companion like Sirius.  It’s a bit farther away than Sirius’ 8 light years.  Procyon is 11 and a half light years away.  Procyon, Betelgeuse and Sirius make the winter triangle.

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

Addendum

Orion and hunting dogs

Procyon and Orion’s hunting dogs animation also showing the Winter Triangle asterism*. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

* Asterism – an informal constellation like the Big Dipper, the Northern Cross, or the Summer Triangle.  Not one of the 88 official constellations.