APOD: Equinox at the Pyramid of the... (2023 Mar 19)

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APOD: Equinox at the Pyramid of the... (2023 Mar 19)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Mar 19, 2023 4:05 am

Image Equinox at the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent

Explanation: To see the feathered serpent descend the Mayan pyramid requires exquisite timing. You must visit El Castillo -- in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula -- near an equinox. Then, during the late afternoon if the sky is clear, the pyramid's own shadows create triangles that merge into the famous illusion of a slithering viper. Also known as the Temple of Kukulkan, the impressive step-pyramid stands 30 meters tall and 55 meters wide at the base. Built up as a series of square terraces by the pre-Columbian civilization between the 9th and 12th century, the structure can be used as a calendar and is noted for astronomical alignments. The featured composite image was captured in 2019 with Jupiter and Saturn straddling the diagonal central band of our Milky Way galaxy. Tomorrow marks another equinox -- not only at Temple of Kukulcán, but all over planet Earth.

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Re: APOD: Equinox at the Pyramid of the... (2023 Mar 19)

Post by Ann » Sun Mar 19, 2023 6:31 am

Jupiter really shines in today's APOD. But if the image wasn't annotated, how would you find Saturn?

APOD 19 March 2023 Teapot annotated.png
Today's APOD with annotated teapot. There's something to the left of it!

Well, you should be able to spot the non-emptiness to the "left" (east) of the Teapot of Sagittarius in the APOD. 👀 There is something there in today's APOD! But there should be no bright star there! 🌟 Conclusion, my dear Watson, it must be Saturn! 🪐 (Or some other planet, but in this case, Saturn!)

Actually I take back what I said! The planet to the left of the Teapot of Sagittarius in today's APOD couldn't have been any other planet than Saturn. It couldn't have been Jupiter (which is seen elsewhere in the picture anyway) and it couldn't have been Venus, because they would have been a lot brighter than Saturn. And it couldn't have been Mars, because Mars would have been much redder. And it couldn't have been Uranus or Neptune, because they would have been way too faint to stand out (Uranus) or even be visible (Neptune) in a picture like this.

Could it have been Mercury, at its greatest elongation? No, because the background sky would have been brighter.

So, elementary, dear Watson, this particular brightish light in the sky near the Teapot of Sagittarius (and along the ecliptic, the path of the sky where the planets are seen orbiting the Sun) is clearly and definitely Saturn!

Oh, and... you know about the real Teapot in the sky, don't you? It may be in Sagittarius, it may be in Taurus, it may be in Gemini, it may be in Aries. Or somewhere else along the ecliptic. They seek him here, they seek him there, that damned elusive Pimpernel!🌸 Or Teapot!

But you can't see this particular teapot in the sky, and that's the point.

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