What did you see in the sky tonight?

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Beyond » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:33 am

Ann, Orion's Belt is about twice as long as what I'm talking about. I've never seen Orion's Belt and what i call the smaller version, on the same night. But with my limited view, i don't know how far apart they are in an east/west direction. They don't seem to be too far apart in a north/south direction, unless things move faster than i realize. I think when ever i get clear skies again, and see one of them, I'm going to go out and check as much sky as i can to see if the other one is in view somewhere. It should be a little easier now that the leaves have fallen.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Beyond » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:02 am

Ann, is this picture you put up, Orion's Belt?? I just went outside and searched the whole sky and saw your picture just south of my house. Now I'm confused. This is what i refer to as -The Kite-, because it forms a square, pointy side down with the vertical stars at the bottom like a kite tail. What I've been referring to as a small Orion's Belt, is just a little bigger, but the middle star is off center a little, so the 3-stars are not a straight line, and there is no tail of 3-stars. And what i thought was Orions Belt, is about twice as long as what this picture shows, and has the 3-stars for a tail, er, sword, and the middle star is a little off center, so the 3-stars are not a straight line like this picture and what i just actually saw in the sky. The orangish star doesn't seem to be quite as orange by eyesight, but then the other stars look whiter also.
Well, later in the week it should be clearer again and I'll have to check the sky every few hours or so to see if i can see what i have been seeing, that wasn't what i thought it was. Orion doesn't seem to be that far from the Big Dipper. Going by this picture, and what i just saw outside, the Big Dipper was behind me, handle down, and just about vertical, as i was looking at Orion. That is... IF this is actually a picture of Orion. As you would say - GAAAHHH!!!!!
Maybe i got that wrong also?
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by rstevenson » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:53 pm

Yes, the picture Ann posted is of Orion.

How about this image, just posted in the New Submissions thread, by VegaStar Carpentier?
6423955839_043e237c39_z.jpg
The brighter, almost horizontal three stars are what we call Orion's belt. Then there are three other stars almost at a right angle to them. Look familiar?

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by owlice » Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:02 pm

annoOrion.jpg
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by neufer » Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:11 pm

http://www.universetoday.com/91332/comet-curiosity-msl-looks-like-a-comet-as-it-heads-toward-mars/#more-91332 wrote: .

Comet Curiosity?
MSL Looks Like a Comet as it Heads Toward Mars
by Nancy Atkinson on November 28, 2011

<<What does a spacecraft look like as it lights-out for another world? This incredible time-lapse video was taken by astronomers at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium in Australia. The sequence shows a plume drifting against the background stars, probably caused by venting from the Centaur rocket stage that sent the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover on its way to the Red Planet, after it carried out a burn over the Indian Ocean on November 26, 2011.

Brisbane Planetarium Curator Mark Rigby said that he and photographer/amateur astronomer Duncan Waldron, along with another planetarium staff member were likely the only people who saw this amazing sight, as they have received no other reports of similar observations.

Rigby said they are “are over the Moon – or higher” from seeing the departure of the Mars Science Laboratory, its rocket stage and plume above Australia on Sunday. “It is a real shame that we couldn’t have woken up everyone that didn’t have clouds,” Rigby wrote on the Planetarium’s Facebook page. “Even we didn’t expect to see such a spectacle. Can you imagine the feeling if there had been a crew onboard heading for Mars?”

Rigby first saw the plume at 2:15am local time, (16:15 UT) and said it was “a one-degree elongated cloud of VERY easy naked eye brightness.” Duncan Waldron also saw it starting at about 2:30pm and began to photograph it until it faded. Nonetheless, he captured a unique timelapse covering 21 minutes until 3am.>>
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by bystander » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:31 pm

neufer wrote:
http://www.universetoday.com/91332/comet-curiosity-msl-looks-like-a-comet-as-it-heads-toward-mars/#more-91332 wrote:
Comet Curiosity?
MSL Looks Like a Comet as it Heads Toward Mars
by Nancy Atkinson on November 28, 2011

http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php? ... 51#p163451
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Ann » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:32 pm

Beyond wrote:

At 5:45am this monday morning, through a hole in the clouds, i saw the smaller version of the 3-stars that look like Orion's Belt, just slightly south of due west, from the N/E corner of Connecticut. With outstretched arm, they were 4-inches above my western horizon, which is a l-o-n-g ridge. Sunset is about 20 minutes after the sun goes down behind the ridge.
Well, Beyond, I think that what you saw in that part of the sky at that time in the morning on that day was indeed Orion's Belt.

So I'm just wondering what it is that you have seen that looks like Orion's Belt, only bigger.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Beyond » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:39 pm

Ann wrote:
Beyond wrote:

At 5:45am this monday morning, through a hole in the clouds, i saw the smaller version of the 3-stars that look like Orion's Belt, just slightly south of due west, from the N/E corner of Connecticut. With outstretched arm, they were 4-inches above my western horizon, which is a l-o-n-g ridge. Sunset is about 20 minutes after the sun goes down behind the ridge.
Well, Beyond, I think that what you saw in that part of the sky at that time in the morning on that day was indeed Orion's Belt.

So I'm just wondering what it is that you have seen that looks like Orion's Belt, only bigger.

Ann
Me too, only now i realize that i have seen 3-different groups of 3-stars. Last night (not monday) i realized that what i had been calling -The kite-, is really Orion's Belt. Before that, i had thought that a longer version of 3-stars was Orion's belt. Then lately I've seen a shorter version of the 3-stars, but still a little longer than the real Orion's Belt. In both the shorter and longer version of the 3-stars, the center star is just a little off center to one side, so the 3-stars are not a straight line as they are in Orion's Belt.
So....... Your guess is as good as mine as to why I'm seeing 3-groups of 3-stars of 3-different sizes, although the middle sized one doesn't have the sword.
Must be why this area of the state is called -The Quiet Corner-, people see strange things and keep quiet about it. :mrgreen:
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Ann » Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:42 am

Beyond, the next time you see a grouping of stars that you don't know, try to take note of the time, the date and the part of the sky where you saw them. Maybe I or someone else here can help you figure out what it was you saw.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Beyond » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:11 am

Ann wrote:Beyond, the next time you see a grouping of stars that you don't know, try to take note of the time, the date and the part of the sky where you saw them. Maybe I or someone else here can help you figure out what it was you saw.

Ann
Okey-dokey. Should be a bit easier now that i know what the real Orion's Belt looks like. Thanks.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Ann » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:13 am

I saw stars this morning, and it will likely be the last time for at least a week. The weather report promises rain, rain, and more rain in the coming week, interspersed with sleet.

Well, this morning the clouds parted and revealed the brilliant outline of Auriga. Capella stood out so brightly, and it was obviously yellow. It is my experience that stars look yellower and more non-blue to the naked eye than they do when you watch them through a telescope, or at least they look bluer to me when I watch them through a telescope. The telescopic appearance of Capella is "warm white" to me.

The Big Dipper was also quite brilliant this morning, and even the Little Dipper could be faintly made out. Polaris was bright. Arcturus was high in the sky, looking yellow (oddly enough, it didn't seem much yellower or brighter than Capella). Arcturus is the most perfect example of "a pure yellow star" that I have ever seen. I have to admit that stars don't always seem to be one and the same color to me on each and every occasion. Arcturus reached the wuthering heights of sublime yellowness several years ago, when I watched it thorugh a telescope, but I'll never forget the buttercup-yellow perfection of this star on that one occasion. (And I will never forget the Christmas bauble red color of V Aquilae on the one occasion that occasion that I've seen that star, or the pulsating blue color of Lambda Orionis as I observed it one winter night.)

And both Mars/Spica and Saturn/Regulus floated slowly and stately across the heavens this morning, looking contrastingly-colored and sort of in love.

Ann

P.S. As TNT points out in the post below... It was, of course, Mars/Regulus and Saturn/Spica that were gliding majestically over the sky.
Last edited by Ann on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:46 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by TNT » Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:18 pm

I thought that Mars was in Leo and Saturn in Virgo.

The Pleaides were a beautiful sight last night too, including the Orion Nebula and the Double Cluster. I managed to see the Ring Nebula before it and the Summer Triangle set. Jupiter and its moons were a wonderful sight through my telescope, as well.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Ann » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:35 pm

TNT wrote:

I thought that Mars was in Leo and Saturn in Virgo.
That's correct. They are. Mars is close to Regulus, the alpha star in the constellation Leo, and Saturn is close to Spica, the alpha star in the constellation Virgo.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by neptunium » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:57 pm

Ann wrote:
TNT wrote:

I thought that Mars was in Leo and Saturn in Virgo.
That's correct. They are. Mars is close to Regulus, the alpha star in the constellation Leo, and Saturn is close to Spica, the alpha star in the constellation Virgo.

Ann
I think TNT meant that you said Mars/Spica and Saturn/Regulus. You must have meant Mars/Regulus and Saturn/Spica.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Ann » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:43 am

Ooops! Thanks, TNT and Neptunium!

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by orin stepanek » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:33 pm

It's what I haven't seen! I haven't seen Orion for a while. Seems as though every time I looked for Orion that it was in a cloudy section of sky! Not that we haven't had clear nights; but I guess I haven't looked on those nights. I've seen the Pleiades several times and that is very rewarding. Been a while since I've seen the dippers also! I have to get away from all these trees. :roll:
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by TNT » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:20 am

Yeah, it's pretty unfortunate to have cloudy skies and objects blocking your view. I kinda feel bad for you, considering that the skies here have been clear since Monday!

But then again, it's gonna rain all day Saturday. Not looking forward to it.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by orin stepanek » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:14 pm

TNT wrote:Yeah, it's pretty unfortunate to have cloudy skies and objects blocking your view. I kinda feel bad for you, considering that the skies here have been clear since Monday!

But then again, it's gonna rain all day Saturday. Not looking forward to it.
I saw Venus at dusk before the sky got very dark! Awesome! 8-) Oh BTW' There was a sun pillar at sunset; it was neat; first one for me. 8-) Supposed to snow Saturday. :evil:
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Venusian no-show

Post by Ann » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:05 am

Chris Peterson wrote in another forum here:

It is impossible to miss (Venus) on any clear evening shortly after sunset. Right now at that time, you have the extremely bright Venus in the west, and the extremely bright Jupiter (just past opposition) in the east. A pretty pair.
So I'm doing the impossible, Chris! I'm missing Venus! Day after day!

Of course, this time of year it's almost always cloudy here, and usually it's completely overcast. But when the clouds break up a bit near sunset, I'm staring west. Staring and staring.

Yesterday there was a thick but rather low cloud bank along the western horizon, but above it there were only fleeting clouds and a lot of blue and sunset-yellow sky. I started staring in that direction at about 3.40 p.m., and I didn't give up until 4.20. Did I see Venus? No, to be sure, I didn't.

So I'm beginning to suspect that Venus has done a planetary Houdini, locking itself up in a cosmic barrel and having itself sunk into the cosmic horizon so low that it just can't be seen at latitude 55° 36' (where I live), unless the horizon is perfectly cloudless and clear. From my point of view Venus has been drowned, there is nothing for it.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Image
The supreme solar system soprano has cancelled her concert! Again! :cry: :cry: :cry:



I predict that when Venus finally shows her face in the Swedish skies again, hordes of panicked people will call 911 (or 112 as the number is here) to report a certain UFO observation.


Oh, Venus, Where Art Thou?




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Re: Venusian no-show

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:45 am

Ann wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote in another forum here:

It is impossible to miss (Venus) on any clear evening shortly after sunset. Right now at that time, you have the extremely bright Venus in the west, and the extremely bright Jupiter (just past opposition) in the east. A pretty pair.
So I'm doing the impossible, Chris! I'm missing Venus! Day after day!
Well... I did say you need clear skies.

Maybe you need to spend a little time in Colorado. Where I am, clouds are rare any time of the year. I can't remember ever having more than two days without seeing the Sun. We had a little snow over the last few days (still Sun, though), and it's a bit nippy now, at -20°C (although it reached a balmy -14°C this afternoon), but I could probably read by the light of Venus. It's certainly bright enough to cast a shadow on the snow.

And even this cold is unusual; it will be back up into flannel shirt weather by Wednesday.
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A great flare?

Post by Ann » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:50 am

I was staring out of my kitchen window, looking northeast, trying to determine if that bluish star out there was Vega. Farther to the east, higher in the sky, was, unmistakably, yellowish Arcturus. I looked up and to my left, probably where the Milky Way was stretched out across the sky. (The Milky Way is completely invisible from where I live.)

Suddenly, up there at left, I saw a very bright light. It looked just like Jupiter, very bright and yellow-white in color, so I thought, momentarily, that it was Jupiter. Then I realized that Jupiter must be fairly low in the western sky at this time of day - about 5.35 a.m., local time. Hardly had I finished that thought when the bright light flared, or rather, it quickly faded. But it brightened again, and then it went out.

I thought it might have been a bright airplane which had disappeared behind a small cloud and then reappeared before being swallowed by clouds again. Except I couldn't see any clouds.

I brought out my binoculars. The seeing was bad, as usual, and the only star nearby that I could see was one that I tentatively identified as Deneb.

On second thought, I doubt that the star I was seeing was Deneb. It was too far away from Vega to be Deneb, and too high in the sky too, I think. It also seemed too faint to be Alpha Cygni, and it was really quite noticeably blue. Could it possibly have been Beta Cephei?

So I don't know what it was that I saw. But hey, it would be fun if it really was something out there, quickly flaring and dying down again.

Ann
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by BMAONE23 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:22 am

It could have been an Iridium Flare
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
I saw one of these once about 2 hours after sunset traveling from North to SSW. It had flared 5 times as it traveled accross the sky. Funny thing was, from the time I noticed it till the time it vanished, it was flaring Bright red instead of Bright white. I figure that it was being illuminated through the Sunset Red sky

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Ann » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:25 pm

You're right, BMAONE23, it could well have been an iridium flare.

Well, as I cycled home from work this evening, the clouds momentarily parted and revealed a gibbous Moon quite close to planet Jupiter. A pretty pair, indeed.

But did I see Venus? What a question. If the clouds part for a few hours every 24 hour period where I live, and if they open only over parts of the sky, what are the chances that they will suddenly disappear altogether from the western horizon right after sunset?

Right now, it feels as if those chances are zilch.

Ann
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by TNT » Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:37 am

I saw Venus only once, and that was a week ago. I tried looking for it ever since, but I can't find it. I need to get away from these trees. I can't even see a sunset! :x

BTW, Chris, how far is Cloudbait Observatory from I-70? Each spring I go to the Rockies with Boy Scout Troop 199 to go skiing.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:42 am

TNT wrote:BTW, Chris, how far is Cloudbait Observatory from I-70? Each spring I go to the Rockies with Boy Scout Troop 199 to go skiing.
It's a long way from anything. An hour to the nearest town large enough to have a store or a gas station. From Frisco, which is on I-70 just as you enter the ski resort corridor, you could drive south and get here in a couple of hours, maybe a bit more. There's an 11,500 foot pass you have to cross on the way, which can slow things down (it snows there in July).
Chris

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