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May 11, 2012 May 11, 2012

Posted by orionrising in Uncategorized.
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Venus and Alnath (Beta Tauri) were in a beautiful pairing tonight as I was walking home.  It’s always interesting to have a planet paired brilliantly with a star.  Oftentimes in astronomy when several planets are in close proximity they get the most attention, but tonight Alnath was close enough to complement Venus quite well. The supermoon a few days ago was also quite spectacular, it was indeed very bright and full and the sky was clear.  No screenshot tonight unfortunately, I haven’t gotten the Stellarium on my Linux system to behave properly lately.  Hopefully the next time I make a posting I’ll have pretty pictures. The sky was very clear tonight.

Beta Tauri is so named because it’s the second brightest star in the constellation Taurus.  The brightest star in a constellation will often be assigned the alpha designation; for example, alpha centauri is the brightest star in the constellation Centaurus.  If you quickly search up a star map of Beta Tauri’s surrounding stars on Google or your favorite planetarium program, you’ll quickly notice that Beta Tauri is very close to the constellation Auriga, and may be connected to Auriga’s stars.  Lying on the boundary of both constellations, the star can be referred in older texts as part of Auriga instead of Taurus [http://bit.ly/KvLt7u]. Interestingly, Alnath is one of the closest major stars to the Galactic Anticenter, a region in space opposite to the Galactic Center (the center of the Milky Way Galaxy) [http://bit.ly/Jv7DUE].

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February 12, 2011 February 12, 2011

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Two Arrowhead Formations in Taurus

NB: The magnification of this image is different from custom this time, covering a FOV of ~7 Degrees, to capture both arrowheads at the same time.

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: Good

Transparency: Great

Type: Deep-Sky

Constellation: Taurus

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 9:40-9:55 pm

Notes: With clouds bordering the horizon, it was slightly warmer tonight, so I decided to observe the northern areas of the Orion/Taurus constellation border.  Found a fascinating set of two ‘arrows’ of moderately faint stars, one about 1.5 times bigger than the other.  They coincidentally both point in the same direction, towards the waxing gibbous moon about 8 degrees to the right. A magnificent sight, a “fast forward” sign in the skies.  To be honest, my first impression was two flocks of geese migrating north/south as the seasons change.  A subtle reminder that spring (and warmer weather) is near!  What about your first impressions? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

January 21, 2011 January 22, 2011

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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T-Shaped Formation of Stars in Taurus the Bull

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: Bad

Transparency: Good

Type: Deep Sky

Constellation: Taurus

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 11.13 – 11:20pm

Notes: A cosmic T-shape formation a few degrees to the East of Taurus the Bull.  Made up primarily of six relatively bright stars, all were white.  Also had a chance to observe the Pleiades.  Compared to last year when I observed it, they seem to have lost their cloudy complexion, which was out of the ordinary and felt strange at first glance.  It might be effects of the atmosphere, or my binoculars being slightly out of focus– nevertheless they looked purely like a small clump of stars.  Very interesting.

UPDATE: Never mind, I never observed any nebulosity last year… click the link below to go back to my observing record last year, when I observed the Pleiades.

https://orionrising.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/january-22-2010-2/

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