Vega

Tiny points of light, with a magic all their own.
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Christopher K.
Posts: 5522
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Vega

Post by Christopher K. »

Vega is the brightest corner of the Summer Triangle. Vega and Fomalhaut are a textbook example of absolute magnitude as they are both twenty-five light-years away.

On Wednesday the 30th at 8:40pm I looked at the Triangle and was happy to have a very good view. In addition to Vega I saw Beta Lyrae, Sulafat and Vega's "accompanying triangle" of Eltanin, Rastaban and Iota Herculis.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5522
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Vega

Post by Christopher K. »

We're losing the Triangle for this season! Vega is always the first to set. I would look for it at least by Monday night. It's sinking fast.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5522
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Vega

Post by Christopher K. »

It's gone now. On 3 December at ~7:15pm I had to stand at the entrance to the 16OGS to have Vega above the treeline. But the Winter Hexagon is here now and it's amazing.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5522
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Vega

Post by Christopher K. »

Vega will culminate tonight in the Baton Rouge sky at 8:49pm CDT at an altitude of eighty-two degrees. If Baton Rouge were eight-and-a-half degrees further north in latitude, Vega would pass directly through our zenith!

Christopher K.
Posts: 5522
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Vega

Post by Christopher K. »

How do you know exactly what point on the eastern horizon Vega will rise. The key to this (aside from just looking up the information) is to use the Big Dipper. Sharp-eyed people with a natural-contrast sky will note that the star at the bend of the Big Dipper's handle is actually two stars: Mizar and Alcor. Draw an imaginary line connecting the two, then extend that line to the east. Wherever the line hits the horizon is basically where you should see Vega rise!

[I don't know if you should try it tonight, though, with such a forecast. It's not bad from about 9pm to 10:30pm, but the transparency is supposed to be poor.]

Christopher K.
Posts: 5522
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Vega

Post by Christopher K. »

There is a wonderful "magnitude exercise" consisting of using Vega, Fomalhaut, Polaris and Albireo (which are, roughly and respectively, magnitudes zero and one and two and three), to visually illustrate the logarithmic scale of brightness--and how quickly the illumination of stars drop whole number by whole number. This exercise will be conducted at HRPO during its Lunar Halloween Party.

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