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Posts Tagged ‘Taurus’

11/07/2017 – Ephemeris – The autumn constellations are all visible in the early evening

November 7, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Election Day for some folks, Tuesday, November 7th. The Sun will rise at 7:28. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 5:23. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 8:49 this evening.

We’ll have about an hour and a half of reasonably dark skies between 6:30 and nearly 9 p.m. – At 8 p.m. all the autumn constellations are visible. The Zodiacal constellations from Capricornus in the southwest through Aquarius, Pisces and Aries, all relatively faint to Taurus rising in the east northeast. Pegasus the flying horse is seen in the high south-southeast. It and the connected constellation of Andromeda the chained princess are seen above Aquarius through Aries. The bright star Fomalhaut holds a lonely vigil low in the south, High in the northeast is the W shaped constellation of Cassiopeia the queen, under which is Perseus, her son-in-law and hero down to the bright star Capella.

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

Autumn constellations.

The sky at 8 p.m. November 7, 2017 showing the autumn constellations, centered on the southeastern sky. Click on the image to enlarge. The Milky Way has been brightened to show its passage through Perseus better. The red line is the ecliptic, the path of the Sun through the Zodiac. Created using Stellarium.

Addendum

 

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11/06/2017 – Ephemeris – Taurus’ angry red eye, Aldebaran

November 6, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, November 6th. The Sun will rise at 7:27. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 5:24. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 7:52 this evening.

Last night the Moon passed in front of or occulted the bright star Aldebaran. Above right of Moon tonight is Aldebaran the bright orange star with a V shape of other stars in the face of Taurus the bull. Aldebaran appears at the lower left tip of that letter V laying on it’s side. With the bright Moon, it might take binoculars to pull out the faint stars of the V. Aldebaran isn’t actually part of the group, called the Hyades star cluster. The cluster is about 153 light years away, while Aldebaran is 65 light years away. The star has an orange hue because its surface is cooler than the Sun’s. However Aldebaran is 44 times larger in diameter, and shines 425 times brighter than the Sun. The name Aldebaran means “Follower” because it follows the Pleiades star cluster above it.

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

Addendum

Aldebaran

Aldebaran in the Hyades (unlabeled), with also the Pleiades, unlabeled, at the top and the Moon. at 9 p.m., November 6, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

09/12/2017 – Ephemeris – The Moon will hide the bright star Aldebaran after sunrise this morning

September 12, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, September 12th. The Sun will rise at 7:18. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 40 minutes, setting at 7:58. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 12:13 tomorrow morning.

This morning during daylight at around 8:40*. the bright star Aldebaran will disappear behind the Moon. Binoculars or a small telescope can be used to spot Aldebaran, the bright star in the constellation Taurus the bull’s eye. Taurus and the rest of the winter constellations are visible before sunrise. The sky needs to be absolutely clear to be able to spot the event. The star will be seen to approach the bright side of the Moon. The star will reappear around 9:53 a.m.* on the dark western edge of the Moon. These events are called occultations. They come from the word occult, which means hidden. In actuality the solar eclipse of three weeks ago was a spacial case of an occultation for those in the path of totality.

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

* The disappearance and appearance times for Aldebaran are within a couple of minutes for Western Michigan.  For other locations in the occultation path Stellarium will give pretty good times for the events by modeling the occultation as I did below.  Like a solar eclipse where you are determines the timing of the event.

Addendum

Occultation map

Map of where the occultation is visible. For the area bounded in red, the occultation is visible in the daytime. Credit: Occult4 by IOTA.

Position of the Moon in the sky

Position of the Moon in the sky near the start of the occultation, 8:35 a.m. September 12, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Aldebaran and the Moon at 8:35 a.m.

Aldebaran and the Moon at 8:35 a.m. September 12, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Aldebaran reappearing from behind the Moon

Aldebaran reappearing from behind the Moon at 9:53 a.m. September 12, 2017. 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.

01/23/2017 – Ephemeris – The rabbit that got away

January 23, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, January 23rd.  The Sun will rise at 8:10.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 5:39.  The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 5:17 tomorrow morning.

Orion, the central winter constellation is seen in the south-southeast at 9 p.m. He is a hunter, but is preoccupied in defending himself from the charge of Taurus the bull to the upper right.  At Orion’s feet, and unnoticed by him is the small constellation of Lepus the hare.  It’s very hard to see a whole rabbit in its eight dim stars: however, I do see a rabbit’s head, ears and shoulders.  A misshapen box is the head and face of this critter facing to the left.  His ears extend upwards from the upper right star of the box, and the bend forward a bit.  Two stars to the right of the box and a bit farther apart show the front part of the body.  The free computer program at Stellarium.org shows a whole rabbit facing the opposite direction.

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

Addendum

Lepus

An animation showing the stars, constellations and artwork of Lepus, Orion and Taurus. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

12/12/2016 – Ephemeris – The Moon will cover the eye of the bull tonight

December 12, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, December 12th.  The Sun will rise at 8:11.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 5:02.  The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 7:21 tomorrow morning.

Late tonight the nearly full moon will pass in front of the bright star Aldebaran.  This will be a difficult  event to spot due to the brightness of the Moon.  It will take a telescope at least to spot Aldebaran, the bright star the is the bloodshot eye in the face of Taurus the bull.  It might help to spot Aldebaran an hour or two early, while it’s some distance left of the Moon.  Aldebaran will disappear at the Moon’s left edge, while its a tiny distance from the bright edge of the Moon at around 10:54 p.m.  Aldebaran will reappear at about 12:09 a.m.  Make sure to start observing several minutes early since these are low precision times, plus your location affects the times.  These times are most accurate in the Western Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

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

Addendum

The Moon moves from west to east, so the occultation events will happen earlier to the west and later to the east.  Planetarium programs can be used to simulate the position of the Moon and stars and can be used to estimate the occultation start and end times.  To be accurate your location longitude and latitude must be entered in the program.

The times I developed are from the free program Cartes du Ciel and are within a minute of that provided by the more accurate program Occult4, which can be downloaded for free at the site below.  Planetarium programs are close enough, however.  Occult4 is somewhat difficult to use.

If you’re out keep a look out for some bright Geminid Meteors.  Their shower will reach its peak tomorrow night.

Occultation start

Start of the occultation at 11:54 p.m EST December 12, 2016. The grid is altitude and azimuth. Created using Cartes du Ciel.

Occultation start

End of the occultation at 12:09 a.m EST December 13, 2016. The grid is altitude and azimuth. Created using Cartes du Ciel.

Occultation visibility path

Path of the occultation. Locations between the bright boundaries would see the occultation at night. Created by the software program Occult4 by the International Occultation Timing Association.

Occultation animation

An animation created by Occult4 of the occultation of Aldebaran and some of the dimmer stars of the Hyades.

Eclipse and occultation information and software can be accessed at http://occultations.org/ the website of IOTA, the International Occultation Timing association.

11/28/2016 – Ephemeris – The Hyades the star cluster in the face of Taurus the bull

November 28, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, November 28th.  The Sun will rise at 7:57.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 5:04.  The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:45 tomorrow morning.

Rising in the east now is the bright star Aldebaran an orange star that’s at one end of the sideways letter V of stars that is the head of Taurus the bull.  Above it is the jewel-like Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster.  There’s more to Taurus, like it’s freakishly long horns and front part of its body.  But you can say you’ve seem Taurus, if you can spot his face.  That V of stars is actually a star cluster called the Hyades, and in Greek Myth were the half-sisters of the Pleiades, also fathered by the god Atlas.  Both the Hyades and Pleiades are being pursued by Orion, which as Robert Frost put it is throwing a leg over the eastern horizon at 8 to 9 pm.  He isn’t the only one following the Pleiades, the name Aldebaran means “The Follower”.

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

Addendum

the Hyades, Taurus, Orion and the Pleiades

An animation showing the Hyades, Taurus, Orion and the Pleiades. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.  Click on image to enlarge.

Closeup of the Hyades and the Pleiades

Closeup of the Hyades and the Pleiades. Created using Stellarium.