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Posts Tagged ‘Virgo’

04/17/2017 – Ephemeris – How to find the stars Arcturus and Spica from the Big Dipper

April 17, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, April 17th.  The Sun rises at 6:54.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 8:30.  The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 2:21 tomorrow morning.

The Big Dipper, now nearing the zenith at 10 p.m. points to several stars and constellations.  It’s handle points to two bright stars.  First we follow the arc of the handle to the bright orange star Arcturus, the 4th brightest night-time star.  The reason I say night-time is that the sun is a star also but by definition is not out at night.  The arc to Arcturus is a how to find Arcturus and a clue to its name.  Arcturus, midway up the sky in the east, lies at the base point of the kite shaped constellation of Boötes the herdsman.  From Arcturus, straighten out the arc to a spike and one soon arrives at Spica a blue-white star in Virgo the virgin, now low in the southeast.  It is below Jupiter this year.  Spica is also sometimes pronounced ‘Speeka’.

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

Addendum

Finding Arcturus and Spica

How to find the stars Arcturus and Spica from the Big Dipper in April 2017. Created using my LookingUp program.

05/14/2015 – Ephemeris – The constellation Virgo in mythology

May 14, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 14th.  Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 9:02.   The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:51 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the Sun will rise at 6:14.

Tonight in the sky: to the left of the constellation of Leo the lion, which lies in the west-southwest at 11 p.m. is the next constellation of the zodiac: Virgo the virgin, is seen in the south.  Virgo is a large constellation of a reclining woman holding a stalk of wheat.  The bright star in the center of the constellation, Spica, is the head of that spike of wheat; and as such ruled over the harvest in two of Virgo’s guises as the goddesses Persephone and Ceres.  Virgo is also identified as Astraea the goddess of justice.  The constellation of Libra, the scales, is found just east of her.  Early Christians saw Virgo as the Virgin Mary.  Virgo is the home of the Virgo Cluster of thousands of galaxies.

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

Addendum

Leo, Virgo, Libra

Virgo with the also mentioned constellations of Leo and Libra for 11 p.m., May 14, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Virgo

Virgo as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. From the Library of Congress. H/T Wikipedia.

Libra

Libra as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. From the Library of Congress. H/T Wikipedia.

05/11/2015 – Ephemeris – How to find the constellation Virgo

May 11, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, May 11th.  Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 39 minutes, setting at 8:59.   The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 3:08 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the Sun will rise at 6:18.

Friday I talked about that in spring we are looking out the thin side of our Milky Way galaxy’s disk.  One of the large constellations we see in the south at 11 p.m. can be found using the Big Dipper overhead, follow the arc of the handle to the bright star Arcturus, the straighten the arc to a spike to reach Spica, a bright blue-white star in the south.  Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the virgin.  She represents the goddess of the harvest,  Virgo is holding a sheaf of wheat in depictions of her, and Spica is placed at the head of the sheaf.  In the space between Spica and Leo the lion to her right is, a great cluster just below naked eye visibility.  The Virgo cluster of galaxies.

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

Addendum

Finding Virgo

Star hop from the Big Dipper through Arcturus to Spica and Virgo. Orientation for 11 p.m. on May 11, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

05/30/2013 – Ephemeris – The constellation of the harvest, Virgo

May 30, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 30th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 9:19.   The moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 1:42 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:00.

Tonight in the sky: to the south, with the bright Saturn to the left of the bright star Spica is the constellation and member of the of the zodiac: Virgo the virgin.  Virgo is a large constellation of a reclining woman holding a stalk of wheat.  The bright star in the center of the constellation, Spica, is the head of that spike of wheat; and as such it ruled over the harvest in two of Virgo’s guises as the goddesses Persephone and Ceres.  Virgo is also identified as Astraea the goddess of justice.  The constellation of Libra, the scales, which she is associated with, is found just east of her low in the southeast.  Early Christians saw Virgo as the Virgin Mary.  Virgo is the host to a grand cluster of galaxies.

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

Addendum

Virgo, Saturn and Libra

Virgo, Saturn and Libra at 11 p.m. on May 30, 2013. Created using Stellarium.

05/14/2013 – Ephemeris – How to find two bright spring stars.

May 14, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 14th.  Today the sun will be up for 14 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 9:02.   The moon, 4 days before first quarter, will set at 12:48 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:14.

The Big Dipper, now pretty much overhead points to several stars and constellations.  It’s handle points to two bright stars.  First we follow the arc of the handle to the bright orange star Arcturus, the 4th brightest night time star.  The reason I say night time is that the sun is a star also but by definition is not out at night.  The arc to Arcturus is a how to find Arcturus and a clue to its name.  Arcturus, high in the east southeast, lies at the base point of the kite shaped constellation of Boötes the herdsman.  From Arcturus, straighten out the arc to a spike and one soon arrives at Spica a blue-white star in Virgo the virgin, now low in the southeast.  Saturn is to its left this year.  Spica is also sometimes pronounced “Speeka”.

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

Addendum

Arc to Arcturus and spike to Spica

My program that shows the arc to Arcturus and spike to Spica.

A more realistic view

A more realistic view of the same part of the sky. Created using Stellarium.

 

05/11/2012 – Ephemeris – The bright star Spica

May 11, 2012 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, May 11th.  Today the sun will be up for 14 hours and 40 minutes, setting at 8:59.   The moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 2:09 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:17.

The bright blue star Spica can be found in the southeast as it gets dark now.  It’s one of the fainter of the 21 first magnitude stars.  It lies in the constellation of Virgo the virgin, and lies very close to the path of the sun, moon and planets in the sky.  Saturn is just to the left of it this year.  Spica is a binary star, whose brighter component is drawn into an ellipsoid by the tidal effect of the companion.  They orbit each other in only 4 days.  Spica is 260 light years away and over 3,000 times brighter than the sun.  An Egyptian temple at Thebes was oriented to the setting point of Spica.  The change in the setting point over time allowed the Greek astronomer Hipparchus to discover the precession of the equinoxes.

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

Addendum

Saturn and Spica on May 11, 2012.  Created using Stellarium.

Saturn and Spica on May 11, 2012. Created using Stellarium.

04/12/2012 – Ephemeris – The constellation Virgo the virgin

April 12, 2012 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, April 12th.  The sun will rise at 7:02.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 8:24.   The moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 3:02 tomorrow morning.

Tonight in the sky: to the left of the constellation of Leo the lion, which lies in the south at 10 p.m. is the next constellation of the zodiac: Virgo the virgin, seen in the south southeast.  Virgo is a large constellation of a reclining woman holding a stalk of wheat.  The bright star in the center of the constellation, Spica, is the head of that spike of wheat; and as such ruled over the harvest in two of Virgo’s guises as the goddesses Persephone and Ceres.  The planet Saturn is also in Virgo this year to the left of Spica.  Virgo is also identified as Astraea the goddess of justice.  The constellation of Libra, the scales, is found just east of her a couple of hours later, not yet risen at 10 p.m.  Early Christians saw Virgo as the Virgin Mary.

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

Addendum

Virgo 2012.  Created using Stellarium.

Virgo 2012. Created using Stellarium.