Sun Enters Capricornus – Not Aquarius

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 Sunday January 20th at 2 UT the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic enters the boundaries of the constellation Capricornus the Sea Goat. This is the actual location of the Sun.
   Interestingly, according to the pseudoscience of astrology, 7 hours later, at 9 UT Sunday January 20th, the Sun should be entering the constellation of Aquarius the Water Bearer.

   
   
   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Sun Not in Capricornus, but it is the 2017 December Solstice

sag-cap-ani    According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Capricornus the Sea Goat on Thursday December 21st when in fact the actual position of the Sun is still within the boundaries of the constellation of Sagittarius the Archer.
In reality the Sun will have reached the celestial coordinates of 23.5o degrees south declination; 18 hours right ascension. With regard to the Earth’s surface this places the Sun over the Tropic of Capricorn, which is at 23.5o south latitude. We also know that it is the Earth’s tilt on its axis that is the cause for seasons on Earth rather than the distance between the Earth and the Sun. And of course we know that this signals the start of northern hemisphere winter and the southern hemisphere summer seasons.

The official time for the change of seasons is 1628 UT (1028 am CST).
earth-in-gemini

And for those ‘insanely curious’ like me, while the Sun is at 23.5o South declination and ‘in’ Sagittarius the Earth is opposite at 23.5o North declination and at the feet of the Gemini Twins.

The animated graphic below sets the stage, so to speak, to illustrate the Sun’s actual location with respect to the zodiac constellations in the background. This is as opposed to the location of the Sun according to the pseudoscience of Astrology. The scene is set for 12:15 CST, or mid-day when the Sun is at an azimuth of 180o, or south, and is mid-way between rising and setting. Starting with the Sun at mid-day the scene changes as first the daytime sky is turned off, followed by the horizon being turned off.
   This leaves a sky view like during a total solar eclipse except that the Sun is not blocked out by the new Moon. And like during that solar eclipse the zodiac constellations in the background become visible. Then the following are added starting first with Sagittarius, then Capricorn, and then the ecliptic and celestial equator are added to show the relationship between the two constellations and what makes them plus another 11 constellations the astronomical zodiac of 13 constellations. The animation ends with the addition of the constellation boundary lines and labels for the rest of the constellations in this setting.
It is the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun which, if it crosses the boundary of a constellation, makes that constellation one of the zodiac. And during December the Sun’s apparent path takes it across the constellation of Sagittarius rather than Capricorn.

Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.


Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Sun Not in Capricornus but it is the 2016 December Solstice

sag-cap-ani    According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Capricornus the Sea Goat on Wednesday December 21st at 10:44 UT (04:44 am CST, when in fact the actual position of the Sun is still within the boundaries of the constellation of Sagittarius the Archer.
    In reality the Sun will have reached the celestial coordinates of 23.5o degrees south declination; 18 hours right ascension. With regard to the Earth’s surface this places the Sun over the Tropic of Capricorn, which is at 23.5o south latitude. We also know that it is the Earth’s tilt on its axis that is the cause for seasons on Earth rather than the distance between the Earth and the Sun. And of course we know that this signals the start of northern hemisphere winter and the southern hemisphere summer seasons.
earth-in-gemini    And for those ‘insanely curious’ like me, while the Sun is at 23.5o South declination and ‘in’ Sagittarius the Earth is opposite at 23.5o North declination and at the feet of the Gemini Twins.

   The animated graphic below sets the stage, so to speak, to illustrate the Sun’s actual location with respect to the zodiac constellations in the background. This is as opposed to the location of the Sun according to the pseudoscience of Astrology. The scene is set for 12:15 CST, or mid-day when the Sun is at an azimuth of 180o, or south, and is mid-way between rising and setting. Starting with the Sun at mid-day the scene changes as first the daytime sky is turned off, followed by the horizon being turned off.
   This leaves a sky view like during a total solar eclipse except that the Sun is not blocked out by the new Moon. And like during that solar eclipse the zodiac constellations in the background become visible. Then the following are added starting first with Sagittarius, then Capricorn, and then the ecliptic and celestial equator are added to show the relationship between the two constellations and what makes them plus another 11 constellations the astronomical zodiac of 13 constellations. The animation ends with the addition of the constellation boundary lines and labels for the rest of the constellations in this setting.
It is the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun which, if it crosses the boundary of a constellation, makes that constellation one of the zodiac. And during December the Sun’s apparent path takes it across the constellation of Sagittarius rather than Capricorn.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

2016 Martian Winter Solstice

A Martian Year

A Martian Year – at One Earth Month Intervals

   Monday November 28th is the winter solstice on the planet Mars as the planet transitions from autumn to winter during its 684 Earth day orbit around the Sun. Seasons on Mars are marked by the planet’s heliocentric longitude coordinates using the position of Mars along its orbit around the Sun. Each seasonal start/ending point is 90 degrees apart, but because of its elliptical-shaped orbit each Martian season is of varying lengths.

   I’m not exactly sure why this particular date is used but by international agreement astronomers have selected 11 April, 1955 as 0 degrees for year 1 of this Martian calendar. What this means is that on Monday November 28th, Earth time, it is the start of winter for year 33 using the aforementioned calendar system.

Year 33
0 degrees — Spring Equinox — June 18 2015
90 degrees — Summer solstice — January 03 2016
180 degrees — Fall Equinox — July 04 2016
270 degrees — Winter Solstice — November 28 2016
Year 34
0 degrees — Spring Equinox — May 05 2017
90 degrees — Summer solstice — November 20 2017
180 degrees — Fall Equinox — May 20 2018
270 degrees — Winter Solstice — October 16 2018

mars-capricornus-ani
   On the evening of Monday November 28th the planet Mars will be over the southwestern horizon at sunset and Mars will set a couple of hours later. Mars is within the constellation of Capricornus the Sea Goat.

   Learn a little (or a lot) more about the exploration of Mars at the NASA Journey to Mars web site.

Here is approximately 3 minutes worth of Mars from the Orbit performance.

   

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Moon Continues It’s Visibility!

moon2days-ani
   Tuesday (October 11th), and Wednesday (12th) evenings the waxing gibbous Moon will be over the south-southeast horizon about 3 hours after local time for sunset. The Moon will move from the constellation of Capricornus the Sea Goat into the boundaries of the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer.
   Over toward the southwest will be the planet Mars about 1-2 hours from setting.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Sun Not in Capricornus but it is the December Solstice

sag-cap-ani   According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Capricornus the Sea Goat on Tuesday December 22nd at 4:48 UT (Monday 21 December – 10:48 pm CST, when in fact the actual position of the Sun is still within the boundaries of the constellation of Sagittarius the Archer.
In reality the Sun will have reached the celestial coordinates of 23.5o degrees south declination; 18 hours right ascension. With regard to the Earth’s surface this places the Sun over the Tropic of Capricorn, which is at 23.5o south latitude. We also know that it is the Earth’s tilt on its axis that is the cause for seasons on Earth rather than the distance between the Earth and the Sun. And of course we know that this signals the start of northern hemisphere winter and the southern hemisphere summer seasons.
And for those ‘insanely curious’ like me, while the Sun is at 23.5o South declination and ‘in’ Sagittarius the Earth is opposite at 23.5o North declination and at the feet of the Gemini Twins.

The animated graphic below sets the stage, so to speak, to illustrate the Sun’s actual location with respect to the zodiac constellations in the background. This is as opposed to the location of the Sun according to the pseudoscience of Astrology. The scene is set for 12:15 CST, or mid-day when the Sun is at an azimuth of 180o, or south, and is mid-way between rising and setting. The actual time of the December solstice was 22 December at 4:48 UT, or for my time zone (UT-6) it was 21 December at 10:48 om CST.
So, starting with the Sun at mid-day the scene changes as first the daytime sky is turned off, followed by the horizon being turned off. This leaves a sky view like during a total solar eclipse except that the Sun is not blocked out by the new Moon. And like during that solar eclipse the zodiac constellations in the background become visible. Then the following are added starting first with Sagittarius, then Capricorn, and then the ecliptic and celestial equator are added to show the relationship between the two constellations and what makes them plus another 11 constellations the astronomical zodiac of 13 constellations. The animation ends with the addition of the constellation boundary lines and labels for the rest of the constellations in this setting.
It is the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun which, if it crosses the boundary of a constellation, makes that constellation one of the zodiac. And during December the Sun’s apparent path takes it across the constellation of Sagittarius rather than Capricorn.

Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.

 

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.

Goat Gives the Moon a Head Butt!

   Thursday evening July 30th the full Moon rises at approximately local time for sunset. For my location that is at 8:30 pm CDT. The Moon is located at the horns of the Sea Goat Capricornus as if the Moon were getting a head butt.
   Since this is the second full Moon of the month this full Moon qualifies as a ‘Blue Moon’. The Moon does not really turn blue so the term Blue Moon is thought to perhaps mean something that rarely happens – once in a blue moon.

   
   
   
   

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.

Sun Enters Aquarius

feb-view from earth   Monday 16 February at 20 UT (2 pm CST), the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Capricornus the Sea Goat and into the constellation of Aquarius the Water Bearer. This is the true or actual position of the Sun as opposed to the pseudoscience of astrology which usually has the astrological Sun one constellation ahead or east from the Astronomical Sun’s position. Which will be Wednesday 18 February when the sun is not in Pisces according to astrology.

   
   
   
[centup]
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.

Sun Not in Aquarius Today

The view from Earth.

The view from Earth.

   According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Aquarius the Water Bearer today, 19 January at 10 pm CST (20 January 4 UT). When in fact the actual position of the Sun today is within the boundary of the constellation of Capricornus the Sea Goat, as this graphic shows. Actually the Sun had just entered Capricornus 2 hours earlier.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   
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.Sun Not In

Luna Has Aquarius’s Back

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   This evening, Sunday 10 November, the first quarter Moon is high above the southern horizon at sunset local time. Since yesterday the Moon has been waxing its way through the water part of the northern hemisphere celestial sphere. Here ‘swim’ the northern fishes, and from the mythologies a sea-goat, and some dude dumping a bucket of water into the mouth of the southern fish. As this graphic set for 7:30 pm CST shows, the Moon is in a region of not very bright stars – the exception being the 1st magnitude star Fomalhaut in the ‘Southern Fish’.
s toe pan   However turning toward the eastern horizon will bring into view the beginning of the stars and constellations making up the ‘winter hexagon’ (northern hemisphere) group of bright winter season stars. These include the open star clusters the Pleiades and the Hyades. The star Algol, a variable star in the constellation Perseus the Hero is now also in prime viewing for timing and graphing a light curve showing how this star varies in brightness. More on this in a future post.
   
   
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.