Just as you end your all-night vigil

The dawn scene on the other side of the Sun will be rising into your weary view:

sky 2015 Oct 9 morning

I refer of course to your night-long vigil of watching the Draconid meteors!

And indeed, a last Draconid or two may come streaking from low over the northern horizon, as they did into this picture.

The planetary scene on the morning side of the Sun is busy. The waning Moon passed Regulus and Venus yesterday. Now it passes Mars and Jupiter.

Moon, Mars, and Jupiter form a “trio,” fitting within a shrinking circle. A grand sight, though the circle won’t reach its smallest diameter, just under 4 degrees, until the Moon is halfway between the two planets, which will be later in the day of October 9, at 18 Universal Time (7 PM in Europe, 2 PM American EDT).

This picture turned out rather well, especially when I realized that the intrusion of the meteor streaks into it was not an accident: the time is still only about 4 hours after the Draconids’ estimated peak. But when I tried to save the picture, the computer told me: “[name you’ve chosen] already exists.” In other words, I had made a picture for the same moment in Astronomical Calendar 2015.

sky scene 2015 Oct 9 morning

The difference between the two is because I’ve been improving my “horizon scenes” program.

8 thoughts on “Just as you end your all-night vigil”

  1. I like the more realistic curved-horizon and colored scenes, mainly because when you render a “wide-view” scene that way, there is less distortion in the constellation patterns. For those that may have missed the solar system parade on the morning of Friday, October 9, I had a nice view of it from Fredericksburg, Virginia:


    Mercury, as Alastair described, was also visible later in the morning deep in the twilight with binoculars.

    I don’t know what to say yet about the prospect of no more Astronomical Calendars after next year. Jack, should we start a hunger strike until Guy reconsiders?

    1. Thanks for the photo. That’s the first time I’ve seen Flickr, which shows you another of my limitations.

      Judging from Jack’s mass last time I saw him, you’ll never get him to join in a hunger strike. Or, maybe he’s well equipped to survive it.

  2. Well, no all-night vigil here in northern England for the Draconids this time – too much variable cloud overnight on Oct 8/9. However, skies cleared around 6 a.m., and although I didn’t spot any Draconids, the scene was similar to your illustration Guy, with the cluster of planets, Moon and Regulus at a healthy elevation, dominating the eastern sky. The first birds were starting to stir by then, some singing, a few giving alarm calls – twilight creates spooks not just for humans, it seems – and fascinating as ever to follow the sky brightening as sunrise approached. I hung on in the cold (patchy ground frost again today) to catch a glimpse of Mercury as well, around 6:40, in a convenient gap in the low tree-line, but only with the 7x50s, as the sky so low was too bright by then, even though Mars – rather fainter than Mercury – was still visible without optical aid, thanks to its greater elevation.

    Been an interesting couple of days astronomically. Stepped out the door shortly after 10 a.m. yesterday, looked up and first thing I saw was the crescent Moon with a bright dot to its lower left – Venus, of course, and so easy in full daylight! Helped that the Sun was masked by the roof at the time, I think. And I made a deliberate attempt to spot the pair again today around the same time, though Venus wasn’t quite so easy, maybe because the lit sliver of Moon was pointing the “wrong” way (that is, Venus was to the Moon’s right, furthest from the illuminated part).

    But the real rarity has been getting two consecutive days with skies clear enough to allow all this!

    1. A beautiful description, Alastair! We have had that transparent sky too – but only in pieces, large or small, between zones or clumps of cloud that, strangely, drift eastward while the ground breeze is from the opposite direction (I’ve been trying to understand it by looking at weather satellite images). So the dwindling moon has sidled in and out of view.

  3. The new horizon scene is prettier. I like seeing the dawn glow. The old horizon scene, with the straight horizon and altitude scale, is more useful to me when I’m deciding whether to plan to get up early and hike up the hill to try to see something.

    1. Helpful information. The horizon can be straight (or can curve up more steeply, or down), just at the change of a number, so I’ll think about what you say. Maybe I’ll explain more fully sometime. –I think the explanation is worth a blog post, which I would like to do soon but shouldn’t take time on just now, I’d have to make some comparative illustrations.

  4. Love the horizon scenes as well as the round about the sun’s showing how our planets revolve around it. So sorry to hear you’re giving up on the Asto Cal which was such a great present for those most appreciative of it, but , so it goes, I guess. Hope that doesn’t diminish your efforts into this blog. Please, don’t let us down. I always look up to you,,,, maybe even name a constellation after you.

    1. I deeply appreciate that, Jack.
      I should have more time not only for this blog but for my endless other projects.

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