Skywatch for the week of December 12, 2022
Mon Dec 12, 2022 SUNRISE, SUNSET, AND SEASONS
We speak of the sunrise in the east and sunset in the west, but there are only two times during the year when this occurs – at the beginning of spring and at the beginning of autumn. After the spring equinox, the sun rises to the north of east and sets to the north of west, and after the autumnal equinox, the sun rises to the south of east and sets to the south of west. In the summer, the sun’s path across the sky is long and high, the daylight period is longer than the night, and the weather turns warm. But at winter’s beginning, the sun’s path is very short and low; the daylight period is short, the night is long. Less direct sunlight and a shorter amount of sunlit hours lead to a drop in air temperatures as the weather turns cold.
Tue Dec 13, 2022 YULETIDES CONCERT
On Saturday, December 17, there will be a recorded concert at Indian River State College’s Hallstrom Planetarium that will feature the electronic music of internationally-known composer Jonn Serrie, who has written, arranged and performed music for motion pictures, radio and planetarium shows. “Yuletides” featuring music of the winter season and Christmas, will also be accompanied by the special visual effects wizardry of the Hallstrom Planetarium, such as stars, constellations, curtain auroras, and even a snowfall. Tickets are $10 each, and available at the IRSC Box Office – call today at 462-4750, or from Martin, Indian River and Okeechobee counties call toll free: 1-800-220-9915.
Wed Dec 14, 2022 TYCHO BRAHE
Tycho Brahe, born on December 14th, 1546, was a Danish nobleman who had an artificial nose made of brass – he’d lost his original nose in a fencing duel over an argument with another scholar about a math problem. (Actually, this happens a lot. Not the duel, the arguing.) But it turns out he was a great astronomer. Tycho proved by its parallax that a comet was far beyond the moon; it used to be thought that comets were simply gases in the atmosphere. From Tycho’s island observatory, and before telescopes were invented, he made incredibly accurate measurements of star and planet positions. It was this data that made it possible for his colleague Johannes Kepler to figure out that the shapes of the orbits of planets about the sun are not round, but elliptical.
Thu Dec 15, 2022 SUMMER TRIANGLE IN WINTER/THE NORTHERN CROSS
The Summer Triangle has three bright stars: Vega, Altair, and Deneb. Vega is in the constellation Lyra the Harp; Altair is in Aquila the Eagle; and Deneb is in Cygnus the Swan. It’s hard to recognize most constellation figures, so we come up with easier shapes to find. In the constellation of Cygnus the Swan, there is a simpler pattern called the Northern Cross. The tail of Cygnus, the star Deneb, marks the top of the cross; while the bird’s beak, the star Albirio, is at the foot of the cross; and the wings of Cygnus form the crosspiece. In the summer and the early fall, Cygnus is overhead. But now as winter approaches the swan has moved toward the horizon, and the Northern Cross now stands upright in the west after sunset.
Fri Dec 16, 2022 YULETIDES CONCERT
On Saturday, December 17, there will be a recorded concert at Indian River State College’s Hallstrom Planetarium that will showcase the electronic music of internationally-known composer Jonn Serrie. “Yuletides” will feature music of the winter season and Christmas, and it will be accompanied by the special visual effects wizardry of the Hallstrom Planetarium, such as stars, constellations, curtain auroras, and even a snowfall. There’s a concert tomorrow at 2 pm and again at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 each, and available at the IRSC Box Office – call today at 462-4750. And if skies are clear after the evening show, we’ll set up the telescopes to look at the planets Mars and Jupiter.