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Posts Tagged ‘Zodiac’

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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11/03/2016 – Ephemeris – Capricornus, a very strange goat

November 3, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, November 3rd.  The Sun will rise at 8:24.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 3 minutes, setting at 6:28.  The Moon, half way from new to first quarter, will set at 9:25 this evening.

The planet Mars is just to the right of the stars of Capricornus, one of the constellations of the zodiac.  Astronomers and others who draw the constellations by drawing lines between stars like a dot to dot puzzle have a hard time getting a sea-goat emerge from its stars.  The sea-goat has the front part of a goat and the back half like a fishes tail.  Kind of like a mergoat, instead of a mermaid.  To me, the constellation looks like a large sagging triangle, just above-left of Mars right now.  It will take Mars only to mid December to cross Capricornus to enter Aquarius, just east of it.   A couple of thousand years ago Capricornus was the location of the winter solstice point in the sky, for which the Tropic of Capricorn was named.  That point is now on the Ophiuchus-Sagittarius border.

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

Addendum

Capricornus

Animated GIF of Capricornus in the sky. Time 9 p.m. November 3, 2016. Created using Stellarium ans GIMP.

02/05/2015 – Ephemeris more about Jupiter it’s motion and mass

February 5, 2015 Comments off

Thursday, February 5th.  The sun will rise at 7:57.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 59 minutes, setting at 5:56.   The moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 7:57 this evening.

Tomorrow the planet Jupiter will reach opposition from the Sun being about 180 degrees opposite the Sun in the sky.   At opposition Jupiter is it’s closest to the earth, and appears its largest in a telescope, except for Venus when it is at its very closest to the Earth.  This second brightest planet was named for the chief of the Roman gods, and takes a majestic 12 years to circumnavigate the sky staying in each zodiacal constellation for a year.  It is currently between Cancer on the right and Leo on the left.  In fact it crossed the astronomical boundary back into Cancer.  Since we view all the other planets from our own moving planet, their apparent paths back up westward from their normal eastward motion when we are nearest them.

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

Addendum

I published this track of Jupiter’s motion for this Jovian viewing season a week ago, showing it’s backward or retrograde motion as we pass it.

Jupiter's path

Jupiter’s retrograde path against the stars between Cancer and Leo October 2014 to July 2015. Created using Cartes du Ceil (Sky Charts).  Click on the image to enlarge.

The planet Jupiter is the largest planet and also most massive.  In fact Jupiter contains more mass than all the other planets of the solar system combined times 2. 

Graphical comparison of masses of the planets.

Masses of all the planets including the dwarf planet Pluto in terms of the Earth’s mass. Credit: University of Tennessee.

Or as the late great science and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote:  “The solar system is composed of the Sun, Jupiter and debris.”

Feeling small yet?

Categories: Ephemeris Program, Jupiter Tags: ,

11/11/14 – Ephemeris – Something fishy in the stars

November 11, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Veteran’s Day, Tuesday, November 11th.  The sun will rise at 7:33.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 5:18.   The moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 9:41 this evening.

High in the south at 9 p.m. are the four bright stars of the Great Square of Pegasus, the upside down flying horse.  Lying along the left and bottom sides of the great square is the constellation of Pisces the fish, one of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac that lie along the path of the sun, moon and planets.  Even though Pisces is called the fish, the fish themselves are not seen in the stars.  What can be traced in the stars is the rope, that’s tied to their tails, anchored at the extreme southeastern part of the constellation far below and left of the lower left corner of the Great Square.  The right end of Pisces is the asterism, or informal constellation, of the Circlet.  It’s the loop of 5 stars, the rope around the tail of one of the two fish.

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

Addendum

Pisces

Pisces below the Great Square of Pegasus in the south at 9 p.m.

11/10/2014 – Ephemeris – Where is the constellation of Aquarius the water bearer

November 10, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, November 10th.  The sun will rise at 7:32.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 5:19.   The moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 8:45 this evening.

One of the constellations of the zodiac is in the southern sky at 8 in the evening.  It’s the constellation of Aquarius the water bearer.  The image that is supposed to be depicted in the stars is that of a hapless fellow spilling a stone jar of water across the sky.  Aquarius is fairly hard to spot because it is made of faint stars.  One part of Aquarius is easy to spot, the Water Jar, an asterism or informal constellation.  It’s a distinctive small nearly equilateral triangle of stars with another star in the center.  Stars extending to the right from the water jar are that stream of water in some depictions.  The body of Aquarius is below, a misshapen balloon of stars that is seen above the bright star Fomalhaut, low in the south.

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

Addendum

Aquarius

Aquarius highlighting the Water Jar. Created using Stellarium.

06/15/2012 – Ephemeris – The constellation of Libra the scales or balance

June 15, 2012 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, June 15th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 9:29.   The moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 3:49 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 5:56.

One of the constellations of the Zodiac or circle of animals isn’t either animal or human.  It is Libra the Scales or balance.  It lies low in the southern sky at 11 p.m., just to the right of the rising Scorpius the scorpion.  Libra, it seems, is an afterthought, a simple diamond shape of four stars..  Its two brightest stars Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi translate to the north and south claw respectively, of Scorpius to the left of it.  The Arabs, at least, seemed to view this as part of Scorpius.  The balance was perhaps to signify the equality of day and night, at the time the sun was in this part of the sky at the start of autumn, over 2000 years ago.  Nowadays the sun is one constellation west, in Virgo at the start of autumn.

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

Addendum

The constellation Libra on June 15, 2012 at 11 p.m. Created using Stellarium.

The constellation Libra on June 15, 2012 at 11 p.m. Created using Stellarium.

Click on image to enlarge.