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Procyan
2010-Jul-11, 05:56 AM
I just noticed it, its still dusk here so it must be quite a bright star. Not nearly as bright as Venus of course. Does anyone know it?

If someone were looking at our solar system from this star would we appear edge on and transit the sun or does the whole solar system rotate like a spinning coin within the milky way? I mean would the plane of our solar system appear to be a flat line.

RussT
2010-Jul-11, 06:20 AM
I just noticed it, its still dusk here so it must be quite a bright star. Not nearly as bright as Venus of course. Does anyone know it?

If someone were looking at our solar system from this star would we appear edge on and transit the sun or does the whole solar system rotate like a spinning coin within the milky way? I mean would the plane of our solar system appear to be a flat line.

If you go to...
http://www.heavens-above.com/

you can see that star by Venus but it doesn't name it....I've been watching it from Northern Calif for over a month now.

it started out about 1/2 way between Venus and Mars (2 to 4 weeks ago) and now is just below and a little s/west of Venus.

IF you look to the left of Venus and a little up....say 15-20 degrees the next star-like object is Mars and then if you keep looking left on that same line the next star-like object is Saturn....at least that is the way it appears from Northern Cal.

You will have to look on heavens above to see if it appears that way for you...astromark is from New Zealand so he will know.

As for viewing our solar system from that star...I don't think heavens above gives a good enough 3d depiction to be able to determine if that star is "above or Below" our solar system eccliptic OR if it would be viewing our solar system edge on.

Jeff Root
2010-Jul-11, 06:35 AM
Damn! I guessed that it might be Regulus. I looked at my planetarium
program, and that's what it is! Venus was almost on top of Regulus
yesterday evening. It will be farther away this coming evening.
Regulus is the brightest star that is right on the ecliptic, although
Spica is also very close. Spica is just a short way east of Regulus.

Since you are in New Zealand, I guess you will be able to see Venus
and Regulus for several hours more tonight. They set about three
hours ago where I am. Oh. I was just reminded by thunder that the
sky was cloudy tonight. It will probably start to rain in a minute...

You are right that anyone viewing our Solar System from Regulus
would see the orbits of the planets edge-on. At least some of the
planets must transit the Sun for them.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

.

RussT
2010-Jul-11, 07:36 AM
Damn! I guessed that it might be Regulus. I looked at my planetarium
program, and that's what it is! Venus was almost on top of Regulus
yesterday evening.

Yes, thanks Jeff. It's always nice to be able to put a name to what you are looking at ;>)) and yes Regulus was just below Venus last night for me here too. ( and now is just below and a little s/west of Venus)

astromark
2010-Jul-11, 08:27 AM
A beautifully clear frosty evening here in NZ tonight... Yes way down there at 39.55 deg., south... Thats us.

Yes we know of it... Regulus. Very bright Venus and within the same field of view Regulus. They stay close for a few weeks yet.

The view from Regulus of the sun would be very near the ecliptic so edge on or very near it from that distance... ?

A detectable wobble and planets transiting... maybe not.

and to Procyan ; Looking straight up right now you should see Antares and the Scorpios group... just a hand span to the north east of this

Is the center of this Galaxy. The Milky Way. From that revelation you can see that the position of Regulus

is even further above the plain of the galaxy than SOL our sun. Waving your arms about while pointing into the sky...

Looking at the ecliptic line. You can actually see the angle of the solar system is 60deg from the plain of the Galaxy.

But come back inside soon. You could freeze... out there.

Procyan
2010-Jul-11, 08:50 AM
Ha ha, thanks Astromark! I see exactly what you mean, the plane of the galaxy can be clearly distinguished from that of our solar system just by looking at it. That's fantastic. I just never thought about it that way before. Worth the chill for good observing!

RussT
2010-Jul-11, 09:08 AM
Ha ha, thanks Astromark! I see exactly what you mean, the plane of the galaxy can be clearly distinguished from that of our solar system just by looking at it. That's fantastic. I just never thought about it that way before. Worth the chill for good observing!

Did you see Mars, Left of Venus and up a little), and Saturn, further left of Mars and on the same line???

Perikles
2010-Jul-11, 09:36 AM
This recent thread (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/105593-Summertime-Dance-of-the-Planets-Animation?highlight=dance+planet)gives a very nice animation of the planets at the moment, including the position of Regulus

astromark
2010-Jul-11, 09:59 AM
RussT... yes. that line is the ecliptic and 'the dance of the planets' is well done. Thanks 'Centaur'., and Perikles.

I was keeping closer to the OP :eh:

Post script... can I answer a question before its asked... ? No. The planets do not line up... It just looks that way some times...

Going back outside to wave my arms about some more... Mark in NZ.

Procyan
2010-Jul-11, 06:01 PM
Thanks to all. Yes RussT I can pick out Mars and Saturn. I used to observe with a small refractor as a boy, now I keep an eye on the planets and a few stars with naked eye and binoculars. My favs are Alpha C, the Dog Star and, of course, the Pro Dog Star (Procyon :) I lived in North America when young and to this day have never resolved A and B centauri though i keep trying with binos. Are there any binaries by binoculars?

The link to Summer Dance is very helpful. It looks like we get another peek at Mercury soon. I'll keep tracking Regulus now and maybe this time I'll be able to actually see Mercury. I missed it last time even though we had quite clear viewing those evenings.

Procyan
2010-Jul-11, 06:04 PM
I meant to say: "I lived in NA when young so i couldn't see Alpha Centauri until I moved here. Are there any binaries that are resolvable by binoculars?"

RussT
2010-Jul-12, 12:00 AM
Thanks to all. Yes RussT I can pick out Mars and Saturn. I used to observe with a small refractor as a boy, now I keep an eye on the planets and a few stars with naked eye and binoculars. My favs are Alpha C, the Dog Star and, of course, the Pro Dog Star (Procyon :) I lived in North America when young and to this day have never resolved A and B centauri though i keep trying with binos. Are there any binaries by binoculars?

The link to Summer Dance is very helpful. It looks like we get another peek at Mercury soon. I'll keep tracking Regulus now and maybe this time I'll be able to actually see Mercury. I missed it last time even though we had quite clear viewing those evenings.

Yes RussT I can pick out Mars and Saturn.

Excellent!

astromark said...
Thanks 'Centaur'., and Perikles.

and I second that!!! Very helpful indeed ;>))

I missed Mercury when it was there a awhile back also....so hopefully I will be able to pick it out this time as well Procyan!

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Jul-12, 01:52 AM
BTW, yesterday's APOD has a view of the sky from NZ, with labels appearing upon mouse-over:

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap100710.html

Nick

Procyan
2010-Jul-12, 08:50 AM
Nick, thanks for that link. But I find that photo quite confusing. It seems to show the Sun lighting up the cloud deck to the right or north of venus. Even north of saturn. To my eye, the sun sets left of Venus, or west. I'm only about 100 km south of Lake Taupo. And I've only had 1 wee dram tonight!

RussT, I think I could see Mercury just after sunset. It was two fists below left of Venus. A bit faint but very clearly there just in the zone between yellow and blue right at dusk. I'll try to get a photo tomorrow. This cold weather and high pressure cell is making for great viewing. Hope your rain has past over.

RussT
2010-Jul-12, 10:33 AM
Nick, thanks for that link. But I find that photo quite confusing. It seems to show the Sun lighting up the cloud deck to the right or north of venus. Even north of saturn. To my eye, the sun sets left of Venus, or west. I'm only about 100 km south of Lake Taupo. And I've only had 1 wee dram tonight!

RussT, I think I could see Mercury just after sunset. It was two fists below left of Venus. A bit faint but very clearly there just in the zone between yellow and blue right at dusk. I'll try to get a photo tomorrow. This cold weather and high pressure cell is making for great viewing. Hope your rain has past over.

When it gets dark enough to see Mercury below Venus, Venus is too low for me to see Mercury below it....there are trees in the way...I will have to look from a different place. Also the rain was Jeff's in Minnesota.

That Astronomy Pic of the day might have been posted on the 10th, BUT that Pic had to be taken 3/4/5 days before for Regulus to be where it is in that pic. Also, the Sun sets to the right of Venus for me here in Nor Cal

Jeff Root
2010-Jul-12, 11:10 AM
The light on the clouds to the right appears to be from a town or city
well beyond the horizon, maybe 100 km or more away from the camera.
The orange color suggests that it is mostly from sodium vapor street
lamps.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

grapes
2010-Jul-12, 04:21 PM
I meant to say: "I lived in NA when young so i couldn't see Alpha Centauri until I moved here. Are there any binaries that are resolvable by binoculars?"Actually, there is a binary that is naked eye!

The stars that the ancients knew as Alcor and Mizar (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091210092005.htm) recently have been found to be a sextuple system.

RussT
2010-Jul-14, 04:05 AM
Nick, thanks for that link. But I find that photo quite confusing. It seems to show the Sun lighting up the cloud deck to the right or north of venus. Even north of saturn. To my eye, the sun sets left of Venus, or west. I'm only about 100 km south of Lake Taupo. And I've only had 1 wee dram tonight!

RussT, I think I could see Mercury just after sunset. It was two fists below left of Venus. A bit faint but very clearly there just in the zone between yellow and blue right at dusk. I'll try to get a photo tomorrow. This cold weather and high pressure cell is making for great viewing. Hope your rain has past over.

Based on your 'lefts' of Venus and even Saturn, I think our lefts and rights "OF" are switched due to Southern and Northern hemisphere's and day/night time difference.

anyway, based on where the sliver/crescent Moon (lower and to the right/north of Venus) is tonight in relation to Venus, Mercury is too far North and low for me to even have a chance of seeing it from my balcony ;-((

AstroGman
2010-Jul-14, 05:49 AM
I have seen the star.It is pretty bright.

WayneFrancis
2010-Jul-14, 07:21 AM
If you go to...


Later on in the night Jupiter and Uranus are VERY close to each other too right now.

Procyan
2010-Jul-14, 08:45 AM
I think we have missed Mercury in the past in large part due to the dust and haze that develops close to the horizon. For the past few days we were having an unusually pronounced moment of clarity here and the consequence was a very sharp peek at the planet. Plus that cresent moon and earthshine was just fantastic. We parked our chairs under the veranda and sipped our usual tinctures as the show developed. Just a lovely way to end the day. I tried to get some pictures but my hand is way to shakey in the scant light. Now we are back to more usual NZ weather, clouds and cold rain.

RussT
2010-Jul-14, 09:53 AM
Later on in the night Jupiter and Uranus are VERY close to each other too right now.

Wayne, I have been watching Jupiter rise in the east for a while now....it is coming up around 1am now on the West Coast of Calif...I'm in Sac...your sig doesn't say where you are, but I think you are on the east coast?

anyway, I just looked at heavens above again and it doesn't show Uranus in my sky at all right now...it doesn't show any planets near Jupiter.

RussT
2010-Jul-14, 10:00 AM
I have seen the star.It is pretty bright.

Actually, I think you are talking about Venus...the really bright 'star' in the west just after sunset that seems to get brighter and brighter the lower it gets on the horizon and the darker the sky gets??? Yes, that's really not a star....it's Venus ;)

RussT
2010-Jul-14, 10:42 AM
I think we have missed Mercury in the past in large part due to the dust and haze that develops close to the horizon. For the past few days we were having an unusually pronounced moment of clarity here and the consequence was a very sharp peek at the planet. Plus that cresent moon and earthshine was just fantastic. We parked our chairs under the veranda and sipped our usual tinctures as the show developed. Just a lovely way to end the day. I tried to get some pictures but my hand is way to shakey in the scant light. Now we are back to more usual NZ weather, clouds and cold rain.

Okay...I found this...

http://earthsky.org/tonight

and there is NO Regulus there....which means that I did see Mercury tonight....yippee ;)

Not sure why Regulus is not visible now, even though heavens above is still showing a bright star in Leo that I think should be Regulus close to Venus....hummmmm

Robert Tulip
2010-Jul-15, 03:05 AM
Photo of Regulus, Venus, Mars and Saturn in evening sky July 2010 (http://spaceweather.com/swpod2010/14jul10/Miguel-Claro1.jpg?PHPSESSID=qnls9s2e6tmravgt70t0t1atv7)

RussT
2010-Jul-16, 02:13 AM
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance

Okay....here is the BEST one I have found ;)

and based on this....there is NO way that I can see Mercury before it sets...

That is based on the distance shown between Saturn and Venus and Mercury and Venus...

So, for me Regulus has been moving north and lower since it was ~1 degree from Venus

Robert Tulip
2010-Jul-16, 07:20 AM
This diagram of planetary positions for 2010 (http://rtulip.net/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Planet_Calendar_2010.355175710_std.JPG) shows that Mercury is clearly visible in the evening sky, but appears closer to the Sun than to Venus. Mercury's high point is for several weeks from 25 July, and it will be quite high when Venus, Mars and Saturn conjunct on 8 August. Mercury will not conjunct Venus until 26 October 2010, and not visibly until its extended conjunction with Venus, Mars and Jupiter in May 2011.

Procyan
2010-Jul-16, 08:43 AM
That is a very useful graph Robert, thanks. Also I noticed that if you can track Regulus during the coming fortnight it will be coming very close to Mercury. Russ, to my eye Mercury is comparable to Regulus in brightness but slightly brighter. Hope that helps.

RussT
2010-Jul-16, 10:04 AM
Wayne, I have been watching Jupiter rise in the east for a while now....it is coming up around 1am now on the West Coast of Calif...I'm in Sac...your sig doesn't say where you are, but I think you are on the east coast?

anyway, I just looked at heavens above again and it doesn't show Uranus in my sky at all right now...it doesn't show any planets near Jupiter.

Wayne...Just found this....

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance

Don't know why heavensabove didn't/doesn't show this ;(((

This Week's Planet Roundup

Mercury (about magnitude –0.2) is low in the glow of sunset. Look far to the lower right of Venus.

Venus (magnitude –4.2, in Leo) is the bright Evening Star sinking in the west as twilight fades. Between Venus and Mercury, can you see fainter Regulus?

Mars (magnitude +1.4, at the Leo-Virgo border) is upper left of Venus. Watch Mars closing in on Saturn to its upper left day by day. In a telescope Mars is just a tiny blob 5 arcseconds in diameter.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.6, in Pisces) rises around 11 p.m. daylight saving time. It shines high in the southeast in the early morning hours and reaches its highest point in the south during early dawn. It's the brightest starlike point in the morning sky.

Saturn (magnitude +1.1, in the head of Virgo) is in the west during evening, just upper left of slightly dimmer Mars. The diagonal line of Saturn, Mars, Venus, Regulus and Mercury continues to shrink. The first three of these planets will bunch up low in the sunset in early August.

Uranus (magnitude 5.8, in Pisces) is 3 west of Jupiter. In a telescope Uranus is only 3.6 arcseconds wide, compared to Jupiter's 44″.

RussT
2010-Jul-16, 10:16 AM
That is a very useful graph Robert, thanks. Also I noticed that if you can track Regulus during the coming fortnight it will be coming very close to Mercury. Russ, to my eye Mercury is comparable to Regulus in brightness but slightly brighter. Hope that helps.

Thanks...I will definitely be watching for it as it moves higher as Venus is moving toward Mars and Saturn ;)

It will be pretty neat showing people when Venus, Mars and Saturn are all right next to each other :)