A Tale of Two Skies

distance   I had an interesting Skype chat last evening with a young man from Argentina who at the time is living in Quito Ecuador. We talked about many things celestial as well as geographical – both of which are passions we share. Pablo is from the city of Esquel in the Chubut Province of Argentina. Pictures of the area remind me of where my wife and I once lived in the mountains of west Texas, the Big Bend Country.
   However what has always intrigued me is the appearance of the sky from a different latitude. I live at approximately 39o North, and Esquel is approximately 43o South. For general observing purposes longitude is less important as it is simply the difference in the time when something becomes visible above the local horizon. Our respective Longitudes are different by about 20o while the time zone difference is 3 hours. My time zone, CST, is UTC-6 or 6 hours after the time in Greenwich England. Esquel and Argentina are UTC-3 or 3 hours after the time in Greenwich England.
   Below are two graphics I made to show the view an hour before sunrise local time. Both views face toward the Earth’s equator, the direction to typically look for the other planets and our Moon. However from the Northern Hemisphere one looks toward the southern horizon while from the Southern Hemisphere one looks toward the north for the planets and the Moon. At mid-day the Sun is at its highest above the horizon and is mid-way across the local sky between rising and setting. In the Northern Hemisphere the Sun at mid-day is above the southern horizon, and it is over the northern horizon from the Southern Hemisphere.

    An interesting way to compare these two cities, or those of your choice, is from viewing information generated at the Heavens Above web site.
    Here is a link to the Heavens Above web site set for Lee’s Summit, Missouri, USA.
    Here is a link to the Heavens Above web site set for Esquel, Chubut, Argentina.

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

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