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Posts Tagged ‘Teapot’

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.

03/29/2018 – Ephemeris – The Easter date is set by the first full moon of spring and a developing conjunction

March 29, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, March 29th. The Sun will rise at 7:29. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 37 minutes, setting at 8:06. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 7:21 tomorrow morning.

This Sunday, April 1st will be Easter for western churches. Because it falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon since March 21st. The Full Moon is Saturday the 31st. It happens that Passover begins at sundown the 31st. Orthodox churches will celebrate Easter on April 8th, a week later. It’s going to be a somewhat busy weekend in the sky also. Sunday Mercury will pass from the evening sky to the morning sky in an event called an inferior conjunction of the Sun. It is not visible, but folks in the southern hemisphere will easily spot Mercury late in April. In the morning sky Mars will pass below Saturn between the mornings of the 2nd and 3rd. They are close to the same brightness, but Mars is distinctly redder.

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

Addendum

Conjunction animation of Mars passing Saturn

Conjunction animation of Mars passing Saturn at daily intervals at 6 a.m. for March 30 to April 4, 2018. This will occur above the Teapot asterism of the constellation of Sagittarius. Created using Stellarium ans GIMP.

08/24/2017 – Ephemeris – Centaur or Teapot?

August 24, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, August 24th. The Sun rises at 6:55. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 36 minutes, setting at 8:32. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 10:17 this evening.

This time of year when the bright Moon near full is reluctant leave the evening sky the Moon after New is taking its time to enter the evening sky. Three days after new and the Moon sets at the end of twilight. At that time the constellation of Sagittarius the archer is low and due south in our sky. Sagittarius is a centaur, one of two in the sky. These half man and half horse creatures are rarely seen outside of Harry Potter movies. Since we’re more familiar with teapots, the stars here make a very passable stout little teapot of the children’s song. The Milky Way even looks like steam rising from the spout. And as the night progresses or the days go by, the teapot will tilt to pour its tea on the southwestern horizon.

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

Addendum

Sagittarius finder

Sagittarius finder animation for 2017 with Saturn nearby. Created using Stellarium and GIMP

08/30/2016 – Ephemeris – One of the many wonders in the steam from the Teapot

August 30, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 30th.  The Sun will rise at 7:03.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 18 minutes, setting at 8:22.  The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:14 tomorrow morning.

Yesterday I talked about the Teapot pattern of stars low in the south these evenings that’s better represented in the stars for us moderns than a centaur with a bow and arrow called Sagittarius.  The teapot, spout to the right is appearing to begin to pour its contents on the southern horizon, with steam appearing above the spout.  That steam is the Milky Way.  In that steam, above the spout is a small horizontal line of light.  Binoculars or a telescope will reveal a star cluster there and more haze.  That haze is the Lagoon Nebula, also known to astronomers as M8, that spawned that star cluster.  This is the brightest nebula of the summer sky, and is 5 to 6 thousand light years away, in the next spiral arm inward in our Milky Way galaxy.

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

Addendum

Lagoon Nebula

The Sagittarius Teapot showing the location of the Lagoon Nebula that is visible to the naked eye. Photo Credit Bob Moler.

Objects designated by the letter M are known as Messier objects, from a list made by Charles Messier who was an astronomer at the Paris Observatory at about the time of the American Revolution.  Messier was interested in discovering comets, which when the first become visible are fuzzy blobs without tails.  A comet makes itself known by moving against the stars.  The objects on the list don’t move against the stars, being with the stars or beyond, which we call deep sky objects.  So it’s a list of objects not to bother with, because they aren’t comets.  Today we use his list or catalog of objects as some of the finest objects in the heavens.

08/29/2016 – Ephemeris – The celestial teapot

August 29, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, August 29th.  The Sun will rise at 7:02.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 8:23.  The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 5:11 tomorrow morning.

If the ancient Greeks had teapots the constellation we call Sagittarius might have been Teapotius or something.  It’s low in the south at 11 p.m. with the Milky Way rising like steam from its spout.  Sagittarius is supposed to be a centaur with a bow and arrow.  However to us the dearth of centaurs around outside of Harry Potter books, and there being lots of teapots around, and that great children’s song which perfectly describes the Sagittarius teapot.  So the teapot is an asterism, like the Big Dipper, not one of the official constellations.  A pair of binoculars is all you need to spot many fuzzy objects in and around Sagittarius.  Pay special attention to that steam of the Milky way above the teapot’s spout for many fuzzy objects.

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

Addendum

The Teapot

Sagittarius star field showing the Teapot. Credit Bob Moler.

07/29/2014 – Ephemeris – The celestial Teapot

July 29, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, July 29th.  The sun rises at 6:25.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 9:11.   The moon, 3 days past new, will set at 10:14 this evening.

The Milky Way runs from north to south through the heavens at 11 p.m. You’ll notice that 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.  According to Greek mythology Sagittarius is a centaur with a bow and arrow poised to shoot Scorpius the scorpion to the right.  This centaur is called 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 and clouds above the spout of the teapot.

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

Addendum

Sagittarius and Scorpius

Sagittarius and Scorpius. Created using Stellarium.

Deep sky objects in Scutum & Sagittarius

Binocular and telescope deep sky objects in Scutum and Sagittarius. Created using Stellarium.

Location of the center of the Milky Way and the Teapot of Sagittarius.

Location of the center of the Milky Way and the Teapot of Sagittarius.