Treats and Celestial Delights During Capricorn
For the Northern Hemisphere
December 21, 2010 - January
times are local unless
Seasons of Stars Twinkle
Is the Winter Sky Brighter?
Twinkles ~ How Many, Why?
Find the New Year's Star!
Earth and Sun Are at Their Closest
Lights "On Sabbatical"
Moon Dances 12/5/10-1/4/11
Night Sky ~ Home Page
Section Is "On Sabbatical"
a planet? ... What planet? When you look up at the night sky, how do you
know you are looking at a planet? Learn
what a plutoid is. Click
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Three Seasons of Stars Twinkle!
The Northern Cross Stands Upright in the Christmas
Gazer graphic made with TheSky
Printable Image *
around 9:30pm on December 15 for mid-northern
Look for these constellations at 7pm any night during
constellations of any season are always those which are most prominent,
that is the highest, before midnight ... Face north and above the
North Star and the Little Dipper you'll see autumn's famous constellation
which looks like a squashed out letter M, Cassiopeia. In the northwest
the three stars which make up the Summer Triangle [Image]
with its constellations Aquila the Eagle, Lyra the Harp, and Cygnus
the Swan are also visible ... Cygnus got its other name, the Northern
Cross because every December
in early evening this cross can be seen standing upright on
the northwest horizon which early Christians saw as a fitting symbol
in the month of Christmas ... And if you look east you'll see that
Orion the Hunter has just risen announcing that winter's just around
the corner and that he will soon take center stage. So if you miss
summer and autumn you can still see them in the heavens ... Star
Here's another view ... looking west
Altair create the Summer Triangle
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Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Why
do the stars appear brighter in winter than in any other season? How many stars
can you see with the unaided eye? Why do stars twinkle and planets don't? These
are all great questions and you may find that the answers surprise you. Here
the winter sky brighter?
two reasons. The first is because there are actually more bright stars
in our winter sky than in other seasons. About half of the 25
brightest stars in our sky are visible in the winter, a higher
proportion of these bright stars than in any other season. The
Winter Triangle and The
Great Winter Hexagon are made up of some of the brightest stars
in the heavens.
reason has to do with cold air.
winter, especially in the northern parts of the U.S., cold air masses
do a good job of sweeping our atmosphere clean of water vapor. And
without all that moisture in the air the sky has that extra crisp
Astronomers posted 2/8/04
fades into winter and temperatures plummet, temperate latitudes receive
frequent rushes of cold air that sweep our atmosphere clean. In place
of the haze and smog we have become accustomed to gazing through,
dark skies set ablaze by bright stars. Astronomy.com
November 6, 2002 - The Winter Hexagon
Where is it? Roll your cursor over the image
image was created in 2002. Saturn is not within the Winter Hexagon
now, nor is any other planet.
the brightest stars form a large and easily found pattern in the
winter sky of Earth's Northern Hemisphere. Dubbed the Winter Hexagon,
the stars involved can usually be identified even in the bright night
skies of a big city.
the brightest star in the heavens, Capella is
the sixth brightest, Rigel and Procyon are
the seventh and eighth brightest stars. Aldebaran is
the fourteenth, Pollux is
the seventeenth and Castor is
the twenty-third. And right in the middle of this geometric gem is
the red-giant Betelgeuse (the
shoulder of Orion), the ninth brightest star.
the Winter Triangle: See a line drawn
from Betelgeuse to Sirius to Procyon and back to Betelgeuse and
you have an equilateral triangle! Note: Look
closely below Betelgeuse and above Rigel to see Orion's three-starred
belt and the sword, which hangs from it. To the right of Aldebaran
you'll find the blue-white Pleiades star cluster.
many stars can we see with the naked eye?
can only view one half of the sky at a time, the maximum number of
stars we can actually see with the unaided eye under ideal conditions
is only between 2,500 and 3,000 (6,000 for the entire sky). In fact,
it is said that one could count them all in a matter of a few hours!
Taking into consideration the light pollution of our cities the number
drastically drops. When we casually Look Up on any night, we do not
see "thousands and thousands" or even "billions and billions" of stars
in the sky. We are lucky, if we can see hundreds at any given time.
and a toilet paper tube it's possible to estimate the total number
of stars visible to the unaided eye at any one time!
do stars twinkle?
One of the
ways you can tell a bright star from a planet is that planets generally
don't twinkle, yet stars seem to twinkle, or change their brightness,
all the time. In fact, most of the stars and all the planets are shining
with a steady light. So why the twinkle and no twinkle? It has to do
with turbulence and apparent surface size.
the movement of air in the Earth's atmosphere, causes the point-like
image of starlight to shift around and fluctuate in brightness and
color. This means that some of the light reaches us directly and some
gets bent slightly away as it travels from the distant star through
the atmosphere down to us on the ground. To our eyes, this makes the
star seem to twinkle. Because planets appear as small disks, not points,
the shift amount is only a small percentage of their size. As a result, "twinkleness" is
notice that stars closer to the horizon will appear to twinkle more
than other stars. This is because there is a lot more atmosphere between
you and a star near the horizon than between you and a star higher
in the sky. Mercury, which stays close to the eastern and western horizons
and is point-like, is the only planet that twinkles, flashing a bright
yellow color. Go out some night soon and check it out! Look Up!
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The New Year's Star ~ Sirius
Image: NASA, ESA, H.
and M. Barstow (University
image is a photograph of Sirius A, the brightest star in our nighttime
sky, along with its faint, tiny stellar companion, Sirius B. Sirius
A is twice as massive as the Sun with a surface temperature of 18,000
degrees Fahrenheit (10,000 degrees C)
B is 98% as massive as the Sun with a surface temperature of 45,000
degrees Fahrenheit (25,000 degrees C)! This measurement, announced 12/13/05,
was done by an international team of astronomers using the Hubble
Space Telescope. The white dwarf’s mass was calculated by noting
how its intense gravitational field alters the wavelengths of light
emitted by the main star. Read
More ~ Hubble
Sirius Compared to Our Sun
Our Sun is a million-mile-wide cool yellow star.
Sirius is almost twice as wide and a very hot white star.
New Year's Star is Sirius,
the brightest star in the night sky. Every New Years Eve at midnight,
Sirius reaches its highest point in the sky directly on the meridian,
known as its zenith point. It's as close as it gets to your crown chakra
(the top of your head). No matter where you live, just look due south
and up to see this dazzling star heralding in the New Year. Star
maps If you miss it at New Years, you can still see Sirius
in this location through the first week of January.
Find Sirius anytime of the evening by Navigating
we look at Sirius we see the light that left it 8 1/2 years ago!
Wisdom teaches us that the energies and powers of this star
are instrumental in our creation and in the establishment of the
guiding forces of our planet and the mysteries of initiation.
It has been referred to as the Christ Star. It is also said that
a sacred planet is responsive to the life of Sirius.
What the Soul is to our personality is what Sirius is to our Solar
System. For this reason Sirius is known as the God
Star. It is also known as the Dog Star, for it is the brightest
star in Canis Major.
system is directly "upstream" of our solar system within the galactic
arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. Because of this, we now know that the
polarized energies of Sirius do indeed wash over us. Modern science
is yet to discover if this vast current of highly charged particles
affects solar activity or life on Earth.
directly towards us, Sirius creates an axis of rotation with Earth
relative to the stellar background. Because of this, of all the stars
in the sky, only the annual heliacal rising of Sirius exactly matches
the length of our solar year, 365.25 days.
unbeknownst to most of the people of the world, our New Years Eve
celebration is a continuation of a most ancient ritual honoring the
return of Sirius to the midheaven position at midnight. Occurring
down through the ages around January 1, this midnight alignment marks
the moment when the energies of Sirius, directly overhead, most closely
touch our lives with her most singular purity. For countless thousands
of years and all around the world, without knowing the hidden reason,
we have marked this midnight moment by jumping for joy as the rush
of this vital connection surges through us. Freya
forces can aid in the service of those who are spiritually attuned.
If you are one of these people, just open your crown chakra and allow
the evolutionary energies to flow in and take hold. May only the Greatest
Good come forth for all of us this New Year!
of it ... the brightest star visible from our planet reaches its
highest point above the horizon at midnight every year on New Year's
Eve. How wonderful, how poetic, almost like a cosmic reminder that
this most brilliant of stellar lights is welcoming in and shining
on the new year, giving us all hope for a bright new beginning. Star
Healing Day and Meditation
New Year's Eve
4:00am PST; 12:00 UT
New Year's Eve
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The Sun ~ Far and Near
Ayiomamitis ~ Image
Sun ~ Far and Near
Earth at Aphelion and Perihelion
Earth's orbit is not a perfect, sun-centered circle therefore our
distance from the Sun varies throughout the year. In early
July when the Earth is at aphelion the
Sun is at apogee,
far away from our planet, at its most distant point in Earth's
orbit; in early January when
the Earth is at perihelion the
Sun is at perigee,
near our planet, at its closest point. The above image by Anthony
Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece shows how the apparent size of
the Sun varies at these two times of the year.
and Sun are
at their closest on January 3, 2011 at
11:00am PST (19:00 UT).
In fact, every January the Earth is at perihelion, the closest to the
Sun for the year, and in July it is at apehelion, the farthest away
from the Sun for the year. On January 3 we
will be only 91.4 million miles away from the Sun, which is 3 million
miles closer than when our Earth is at aphelion on July
4, 2011 at 8:00am
PDT (15:00 UT). We
are so close to the Sun in January that it can appear 7% brighter than
it does in July!
falling on Earth at perihelion is 3.5% stronger than the year-long
why is it colder in January and hotter in July for the Northern Hemisphere?
What's the weather like in the Southern Hemisphere right now? The
tilt of the Earth plays a big role in answering these questions. Here's
and simple explanation ... with the following disclaimer!!
one hemisphere have a hotter summer
and colder winter than the other?
expect northern summer to be cooler because it occurs when Earth
is farther from the Sun. Not so, explains Roy Spencer of the Global
Hydrology and Climate Center. "The oceans and land on Earth are
not evenly distributed around the globe. The Northern Hemisphere
has more land; the Southern Hemisphere has more water. This tends
to moderate the impact of differences in sunlight between perihelion
the land-crowded northern half of our planet is tilted toward the
Sun. For a given amount of sunlight, land warms up more than water
(in other words, land has a lower heat capacity). Sunlight is therefore
more effective at raising the temperature
of the Northern Hemisphere. This results in the surprising fact
that northern summer is a little warmer than southern summer even
though Earth is farther from the Sun in July. NASA's
Apehelion Day 2000
Distance Affects the Length of Seasons
the shape of our orbit does affect the length of the seasons. Right
now, when we're closest to the Sun, Earth is moving faster than
at other times of the year. Six months from now, when we're farthest
from the Sun, Earth will be moving slower than
average. As a result, winter in the northern hemisphere passes quickly,
while summer lingers a bit longer — about five-and-a-half days
longer. Southern-hemisphere seasons are reversed, so summer is the
shortest season, winter the longest. StarDate
Online: Earth at Perihelion 1/4/04
according to Kepler's second law of planetary
motion whenever an object is closest to the Sun it travels
at its fastest. And when it's at its farthest from the Sun it travels
at its slowest with constantly varying speeds between closest and
farthest. ... January ... our Earth is highballing at a speed of
68,000 miles per hour but by July ... it will have slowed down by
about half a mile a second and will be moving only 65,499 miles per
hour. ... Fasten your seat belts and
keep looking up! Star
Gazer 2006 Script 1/2–1/8
are a few more Earth/Sun
facts as well as a review of perihelion and aphelion. Here's a year
to year chart of Equinoxes, Solstices, Perihelion, and Aphelion.
you have trouble remembering the difference between perihelion and
aphelion, an old astronomer's trick is to recall that the words "away" and "aphelion" both
begin with the letter "A".
May the birth of the Christ consciousness
within us be our greatest
gift to each other.
Peace on Earth and Goodwill
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