Finding North from unclear sky around New Year.

 

Finding North from unclear sky around New Year.

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

Click here for a full, up to date ORIGINAL ARTICLE and to help fighting the stealing of readers’ traffic.

(Blog No.121).

#find North, #finding North, #direction, #by stars, #Sirius, #Canopus, #Orion-Rigel, #Capella, #New Year, #unclear sky
Around New Year there are some bright stars shining the whole night. They include Sirius, Canopus, Orion-Rigel and Capella. These four stars can be used to locate the Celestial poles in the sky and subsequently the terrestrial principal directions.

1. Celestial poles and terrestrial directions.

Sun on Celestial Sphere

Figure: The Sun, the Moon and the stars are attached to a Celestial sphere which encloses the Earth like a giant rotating cage.

To an Earth bound observer, the Earth appears to be enclosed by a large rotating spherical shell called the Celestial Sphere with all stars attached to it. This shell rotates around the Earth nearly one revolution every 24 hours. This rotation leaves unmoved only 2 points on the shell. They are called the Northern and Southern Celestial poles of the Celestial Sphere.

If an observer can locate one Celestial pole then the projection to the ground of the line from him to the pole will be along his terrestrial North South direction.

2. Locating the Northern Celestial Pole.

Orion by Samsung GN2

Figure: Photo of the Orion constellation (Photo added 2018 May 09). Northern Celestial pole is from the top direction of this photo.

An Earth bound observer in Northern hemisphere or on the tropical zone can identify the Orion constellation around New Year. The front foot of the hunter represented by this constellation is the bright star Orion-Rigel. The trailing shoulder of the hunter is the bright star Betelgeuse.

The brightest star in the sky is Sirius. The great circle arc Sirius to Capella is 70 degrees long with Betelgeuse being close to its midpoint.
Extending the great circle arc Orion-Rigel to Capella to 100 degrees long bring us practically to the Celestial North pole.

star map mercatorx1p6

Figures 1a, 1b: The Mercator maps of the sky for inhabitants of Tropical Zone. North direction is on its top. 24hr of R.A. is near the center and R.A. increases towards the left (East) of the map. The map is to be read South side up in the Southern hemisphere.

3. Locating the Southern Celestial pole.

An Earth bound observer in Southern hemisphere or on the tropical zone can identify the Orion constellation around New Year. Sirius is the brightest star in the sky and it is behind the trailing foot of the hunter.
Canopus is the next brightest star within 45 degrees of Sirius. The great circle arc Sirius to Canopus is nearly 35 degrees long. Doubling this arc bring us practically to the Southern Celestial pole.

Bright Stars 20 Plus 2

Figure 2: Table of 20 brightest +2 stars in order of appearance.
4. Visibility of these four stars.
The four stars appear on the meridional line (the North South line through the zenith of the observer) near midnight of New Year.
They appear two hours earlier for each additional calendar month after that date.
Example:
In April, they appear on the meridional line at about 24 hr – (2 hr)×(4th-1st) = 18 hr. After 18 hr they slowly move to the setting (Western) side.

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Was New Year night chosen to have Sirius highest at midnight?

Was New Year night chosen to have Sirius highest at midnight?

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

Click here for a full, up to date ORIGINAL ARTICLE and to help fighting the stealing of readers’ traffic.

(Blog No.102).

 

#find North, #finding North, #bright  star, #navigation, #Sirius, #New Year,

Was New Year night chosen to have Sirius highest at midnight?

When looking at the dates of the brightest stars, we cannot overlook the fact that the brightest star Sirius is highest on the Midnight of January 1st.

The question is was that the reason why January 1st was chosen on that date?

This question invites our thinking on ancient astronomy and time keeping.

The brightest stars and their dates are given in the following two figures.

Equatorial Stars2

Figure: Stars in tropical zone for beginners (Tropical zone). Click to enlarge figure.

Bright Stars 20 Plus 2

Figure 2: Table of 20 brightest +2 stars in order of appearance.

References.

[1]. tonytran2015, Finding North direction and time by stars, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, https://survivaltricks.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/finding-north-and-time-by-stars/ , posted on August 28, 2015.

[2]. tonytran2015, Finding North and time by stars in the tropics, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, https://survivaltricks.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/finding-north-and-time-by-stars-in-the-tropics/, posted on May 25, 2016

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The Orion constellation.

​The Orion constellation

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

Click here for a full, up to date ORIGINAL ARTICLE and to help fighting the stealing of readers’ traffic.

(Blog No.43).

#find North, #direction, #by stars, #Orion, #Sirius, #navigation, #constellation.

Celestial navigators who do not use declination and right ascension begin their navigation by learning the various bright, easily identifiable constellations in the sky (There are no more than 10 to learn.).

The Orion is usually chosen to be the first constellation to be learned. The Orion is a bright, easily identifiable constellation of December. It stays in the sky of December for the whole night, attains its highest elevation (or altitude) about midnight and is right on the Celestial equator.
It has the size of 30 degree (in angle) and has the shape of a waisted rectangle. Western sky watchers see a resembling to man in an armor vest and gave it the name Orion. Pacific sky watchers see its two brightest diagonal stars as the ends of a large stick in the sky.

It is never blinded by the Moon or any bright planet as the ecliptic is well away from it. As it is quite bright and has easily identifiable shape, it is usually used as the base (anchor marks) to start locating other stars.

1. The Orion on a Mercator sky-map.

mercator8gc30.jpg

Figure 1: The Orion constellation is right on the Celestial Equator and one third from the right edge of this Mercator sky-map.

 



The three dim stars in a straight line starting from the waist band and almost at right angle to it (not shown in this simplified Mercator sky map) are called the Dagger stars. The Dagger is at right angle to the Celestial equator and points along a great arc in the North to South direction on the Celestial sphere.


Rigel or Beta Orionis is bright star at the South leading corner of the waisted rectangle. Betelgeuse is bright star at the North trailing corner of the waisted rectangle. Bellatrix is a less bright star on the North leading corner of the rectangle.

Rotating the line Betelgeuse – Rigel by 90 degree in the anti-clockwise direction gives the line Betelgeuse – Aldebaran, (Aldebaran is also called alpha Tauri).

Extending the line Bellatrix-Aldebaran by another 50% makes it reaches Pleiades group of stars (not shown on this simplified Mercator sky map). This group has millions of stars fitting within an area as small as the area of the Moon (The area is equal to that of a fingernail on a fully extended arm). Most people can see a brush shape made of 7 brightest stars of this group.

On the trailing side of Orion lies the brightest star in the sky. It is Sirius. Rigel -Betelgeuse – Sirius form an almost equilateral triangle on the trailing side of the line Rigel – Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse is the star of December 20th and the December solstice occurs on the 21st of December, on the following night .

The night when the brightest star Sirius attains its highest altitude at midnight is the first night of a new (Roman) calendar year (Is it a coincidence?).

2. Taking photos of the Orion.

Orion Constellation

Figure 2: Photo of the Orion Constellation taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The original photo has been digitally enhanced. Sirius is the brightest star on the lower half. Rigel, Betelgeuse and gamma-Gemini are in line (from bottom to top) and almost equally spaced.

Figure 3: Photo of the Orion Constellation taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The original photo has been digitally enhanced. On this night there was a bright object (planet ?) on the elliptic near to the leading shoulder of Orion.

The Orion is quite bright and photo can be taken using a smart phone such as a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with no extra attachment.

Notes: The photos have been updated in March 2018.

References.

[1]. tonytran2015, Finding North and time by stars in the tropics, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, Finding North and time by stars in the tropics, posted on May 25, 2016

[2]. tonytran2015, Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars., posted on October 7, 2016

[3]. tonytran2015, Finding North and time by stars, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, Finding North and time by stars, posted on August 28, 2015

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