CAC's Spaced Out Challenge: A Triple Planet Treat, Bees & a Peek at ISON

The last few editions have featured objects you can't really enjoy naked-eye, but that changes with a special grouping of three planets this Sunday. All you need to see the trio are your eyes and a clear western/ west-northwestern horizon.

Triplet Treat CAC challenge

With the moon full or damn close to it this week/weekend, most deep sky objects save for double stars and clusters aren't worth the hunt, particularly in urban areas. With a pair of binoculars though, you can enhance your view of the planetary meet-up, eyeing the faint moons of Jupiter for a few minutes before the trio dips below the horizon. This week is the last good one this year for spotting the largest planet in the solar system in evening skies, and your best for eyeing Mercury, the smallest. Venus will hang around a bit longer, and Saturn continues to quietly drift along in Virgo.

Co-blogger rdbrewer sent over a link teasing a first look at Comet Ison, still on track to be visible naked eye in November, courtesy the Slooh Space camera here.

A few 'rons have mentioned the late Jack Horkheimer in the spaced threads. I found a video featuring another rare trio of worlds from 1991 (hint-hint: this stuff doesn't happen that often), and, well, I can see why some of you have mentioned him. He's very, very enthusiastic:

As an added bonus, keep your eyes on the sky after the trio, and if you live in an urban area, keep your binoculars handy for one of the oldest-known and beautiful clusters in the sky, Praesepe, more commonly called the Beehive:


DSS image of M44

Finding it without a dark sky can be alitle tricky, but thankfully there are some rather bright stars than can show you the way. Those living in rural areas should be able to pick out the faint constellation Cancer, but I kept the map set for those of us in the suburbs:
Finding the Beehive

As always, for your astronomical needs be sure to hit up the Ace storefront right up their in yonder corner, check out the FULP object list for suburban/urban amateurs, clear skies to you, and keep looking up!

Next week: finding the dark secret of the swan

Posted by: CAC at 09:00 PM



Comments

1 I can see Uranus.

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:03 PM (Hx2XA)

2 And a black hole.

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:03 PM (Hx2XA)

3 Pluto is Mickey's dog, not a planet.

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:04 PM (Hx2XA)

4 Hello?

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:05 PM (Hx2XA)

5 Is this thing on?

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:05 PM (Hx2XA)

6 Damn.

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:05 PM (Hx2XA)

7 Oh well. More chips and dip for me!

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:05 PM (Hx2XA)

8 We invented astronomy. I kill you.

Posted by: Achmed the dead terrorist at May 22, 2013 09:06 PM (bAGA/)

9 I want more punch. Where's the big dipper?

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:06 PM (Hx2XA)

10
hmmm, I find myself presented with an interesting dilemma..

Posted by: soothsayer, now with 20% less ruth at May 22, 2013 09:07 PM (vanqS)

11 I still wear my Members Only jacket.

Posted by: Zombie Jack Horkheimer at May 22, 2013 09:07 PM (q4QfH)

12 Great. It's me and a muzzie.

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:07 PM (Hx2XA)

13 hmmm, I find myself presented with an interesting dilemma..

Posted by: soothsayer, now with 20% less ruth


I took dilemma to di-airport once.

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:10 PM (Hx2XA)

14 Heh. I got eight in a row once, Dang.

Posted by: rickl at May 22, 2013 09:10 PM (sdi6R)

15 A dead muzzy, the best kind.

Posted by: Tobacco Road at May 22, 2013 09:10 PM (4Mv1T)

16 We invented puns. I kill you!

Posted by: Achmed the dead terrorist at May 22, 2013 09:10 PM (bAGA/)

17 Really, CAC??? You stomped the ONT?

Really?

There will be blood.

Posted by: Sean Bannion at May 22, 2013 09:10 PM (juKVi)

18 Siiiiiigggghhh.


It appears I have to do everything around here.


Obligatory - http://youtu.be/-1GadTfGFvU


Posted by: alexthechick - SMOD. Take us away. at May 22, 2013 09:10 PM (Gk3SS)

19
I'm sorry, captain. Was that Uranus?

Posted by: George Takei aboard the Enterprise at May 22, 2013 09:12 PM (qKpun)

20 Heh. I got eight in a row once, Dang.

Posted by: rickl

Ace said I can pick a small prize from the prize chest. After he gets it situated on his lap.

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:12 PM (Hx2XA)

21 CAC -- awesomey awesomeness!

Posted by: sinmi at May 22, 2013 09:13 PM (NUMNK)

22 Holy muck, what a day

Posted by: Misanthropic humanitarian at May 22, 2013 09:13 PM (HVff2)

23

Trivia

Dennis Quaid was in 2 sci-fi flicks (that I can remember at the moment), one bad one, and one really bad one with Martin short. Name them.

Bonus: Name all the sci-fi flicks Randy Quaid was in.

Posted by: soothsayer, now with 20% less ruth at May 22, 2013 09:13 PM (Fely/)

24 I loved that guy - I used to watch him on Ch. 20. reason He really loved astronomy and I dug that. And that music makes me tear up for some reason.

Posted by: Gem at May 22, 2013 09:14 PM (zw+pb)

25 Siiiiiigggghhh.


It appears I have to do everything around here.


Obligatory - http://youtu.be/-1GadTfGFvU




Posted by: alexthechick - SMOD. Take us away.


Cartoon bees never hurt anyone, Nick. Settle down.

Posted by: Dang at May 22, 2013 09:14 PM (Hx2XA)

26 But where can I see that apocalyptic asteroid we were promised?

Posted by: Disappointed Doomster at May 22, 2013 09:14 PM (qKpun)

27 Now where do we go?

Posted by: Adam at May 22, 2013 09:14 PM (Aif/5)

28 A little mood music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O63COyZlTyU

Posted by: Psychedelicat at May 22, 2013 09:15 PM (Vk2pI)

29 Argh! Where are we supposed to go?!?!

Posted by: Elizabethe on the phone at May 22, 2013 09:15 PM (qPCAa)

30 Space helmets are for pussies. I'm goin' for a walk.

Posted by: Jack Horkheimer at May 22, 2013 09:15 PM (Hx2XA)

31

ahh

it appears I chose poorly

Posted by: soothsayer, now with 20% less ruth at May 22, 2013 09:17 PM (052zE)

32 "all you need ... is a clear western horizon"
Lets me out.

I do have memories of doing a late night tire check out in the deserts of Arizona, and being dazzled by all those white lights in the sky.

Posted by: Skandia Recluse at May 22, 2013 09:17 PM (zJ6r0)

33 I haven't seen the 2006 version of "The Wicker Man", but I've seen the 1973 version on TV a couple of times.

Based on the reviews at IMDB, most believe the '73 version was better. Did I mention it has Britt Ekland?

Posted by: rickl at May 22, 2013 09:17 PM (sdi6R)

34 Nice stomp----we'll show them that they can't kick around the Science Club.....much...
Now back to the post---you rock!

Posted by: Helion Prime at May 22, 2013 09:18 PM (C3KwS)

35
Event Horizon

with Sam Neil, I think

Posted by: soothsayer, now with 20% less ruth at May 22, 2013 09:19 PM (DlaLh)

36 >>>Argh! Where are we supposed to go?!?!
Posted by: Elizabethe


I've got two browser windows open so I can toggle between both floors. Morons improvise.

Posted by: Tobacco Road at May 22, 2013 09:22 PM (4Mv1T)

37
What's with muzzies and their penchant for beheadings? And not clean quick decapitations, like with a guillotine.

And the multi-culti left doesn't think it's proper to call them barbarians.We're expected to respect their culture, or at least to not denigrate it--stonings and beheadings included.

Posted by: BubbaLou at May 22, 2013 09:23 PM (qKpun)

38

oh I get it

in this thread we act like mimes

Posted by: soothsayer, now with 20% less ruth at May 22, 2013 09:24 PM (052zE)

39 heh, he said Virgo, heh, heh

Posted by: whatmeworry? at May 22, 2013 09:24 PM (Q3WfW)

40 SCIENCE!!1!

That makes this post interesting... and Gin and Tonic. But mostly the Gin and tonic.

Posted by: Flyguy at May 22, 2013 09:26 PM (BeFHp)

41 A Solyndra is @ $529 Million, or just over half a Billion.

2 Solyndra's = a Billion.

3 Solyndra's = the total property damage in Oklahoma in what the press is calling the worst Tornado since Global Warming.

So for the cost of just 3 Solyndra's, just 3 times the amount of Taxpayer money Obama threw away to his corrupt Green buddies at Solyndra, we could rebuild Moore, Oklahoma.

Posted by: Islamic Rage Boy at May 22, 2013 09:29 PM (e8kgV)

42 Heh. He said "naked-eye." And "Horkheimer."

Heh.

Posted by: filbert The Whig at May 22, 2013 09:30 PM (7vimm)

43 The 2006 Wicker Man is dreadful.

Nicholas Cage - as terrible as he is - is just a small part of the problem with it.

Britt Ekland dancing naked in the original was great but the whole movie was too.

Posted by: Herbert Hymenhopper at May 22, 2013 09:30 PM (p8RjH)

44 O/T

Ace: Your 'Yahoo!' RSS Feed is way behind. It started yesterday afternoon and it has not improved today. The last Headline was "PSA: Where you can meet your Two Minutes Hate quota [Purp]

Some posts were invisible/un-postable yesterday, corrected by Pixy, but the RSS 'Yahoo!' feed has not updated.

Posted by: Slapweasel at May 22, 2013 09:33 PM (7gwGw)

45 11-I wear my late father's Members Only jacket when I have to plant roses and it's too cold out. He passed away in 1988 and I have been wearing it since a year or so later. I leave it down in the back hall until it warms up. it's covered in dirt and mud. I might try to wash it one day. But then it will only get dirty again.
Good Evening.

I have things to do and spent half my day here, again.

I'll be back in an hour or so. I have to eat.

Posted by: CarolT at May 22, 2013 09:35 PM (z4WKX)

46
To me constellations are confusing, they don't look like tracings of gods or animals or whatever, justpoints of light strewn randomly across the sky.Never could tell what I'm supposed to be seeing --Europa the Pot Smoker or Seymour the Pants Salesman or whatever. I can't even pick out the Big Dipper.

Nor can I detect planets or name them--again, just points of light.

I feel very deficient, astronomically speaking. Retarded even.

Posted by: BubbaLou, not the "brightest" star in the firmament at May 22, 2013 09:36 PM (qKpun)

47 Isao Tomita! I miss goofy Jack.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at May 22, 2013 09:38 PM (x4x3r)

48 For you CAC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWChhdIgT6Q

Posted by: steevy at May 22, 2013 09:38 PM (9XBK2)

49 I can't even pick out the Big Dipper. Nor can I detect planets or name them--again, just points of light.I feel very deficient, astronomically speaking. Retarded even.Posted by: BubbaLou, not the "brightest" star in the firmament at May 22, 2013 09:36 PM (qKpun)

You are not alone.

Posted by: Bertram Cabot Jr. at May 22, 2013 09:39 PM (WLywR)

50 Well, I haven't done anything astronomy-wise in the past week, so I can't think of anything to say about that.

There's Astronomy Picture of the Day, or APOD, and there's absolutely no excuse for anyone not to have it bookmarked in their browser.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/

But CAC, these threads are very much in keeping with the spirit of Jack Horkheimer. I'm sure he wouldn't mind you appropriating his tagline.

Posted by: rickl at May 22, 2013 09:39 PM (sdi6R)

51 The Big Dipper (Ursa Major) is the only constellation I can identify BubbaLou so I can relate. Funny thing is that the Dipper has always kind of been a touchstone, so to speak, in my life. I grew up an Army brat and since then I've moved probably 35 times in 51 years and it's been the only constant. Whenever I pick it out of the night sky it always feels like an old friend.

Posted by: whatmeworry? at May 22, 2013 09:41 PM (Q3WfW)

52 What is Ace's Yahoo RSS feed? I would like that, can you post link?

Posted by: CarolT at May 22, 2013 09:41 PM (z4WKX)

53 @42Captain, they've disrobed and are waving their Horkheimers at us!

Posted by: The expendable guy in the red shirt on a scouting expedition on Planet Vesta II at May 22, 2013 09:42 PM (qKpun)

54 What is Ace's Yahoo RSS feed? I would like that, can you post link?

Posted by: CarolT


Not RSS but it should work just the same.

http://ace.mu.nu/index.rdf

Posted by: weft cut-loop at May 22, 2013 09:43 PM (dwArK)

55 @42Captain, they've disrobed and are waving their Horkheimers at us!

Approach cautiously, Ensign, but make sure you keep your mouths shut!

Posted by: Cap'n Quirk at May 22, 2013 09:43 PM (7vimm)

56
46 To me constellations are confusing, they don't look like tracings of gods or animals or whatever, justpoints of light strewn randomly across the sky.Never could tell what I'm supposed to be seeing --Europa the Pot Smoker or Seymour the Pants Salesman or whatever. I can't even pick out the Big Dipper. Nor can I detect planets or name them--again, just points of light.I feel very deficient, astronomically speaking. Retarded even.
Posted by: BubbaLou, not the "brightest" star in the firmament at May 22, 2013 09:36 PM (qKpun)


iPhone app: Night Sky. You're welcome.

Posted by: buzzion at May 22, 2013 09:44 PM (LI48c)

57 I miss seeing Jack Horkheimer. But I always "Keep looking up"

Posted by: Joethefatman™ (@joethefatman1) at May 22, 2013 09:44 PM (MnSla)

58 I'm going to do a thread, maybe next week, making it easy to pick out the constellations. The Big Dipper is a small part of Ursa Major, but for most of us, the dipper part is all we can see. It makes it easier to "hop" from familiar stars to unfamiliar ones, which is why I frown upon planispheres and star maps at least for those who've never had even a 101 course in Astronomy.

There's lots to see if you know where to look. The knowing part is the toughie.

Posted by: CAC at May 22, 2013 09:45 PM (cO+qh)

59 "What is Ace's Yahoo RSS feed? I would like that, can you post link?"
Posted by: CarolT
__________________________________________________________
It is an option at the top of the Yahoo Toolbar. I don't see the usual "RSS symbol" anywhere on the site.

On the toolbar, there is a blue "+RSS". It used to update about twenty minutes after a new topic was posted.

Posted by: Slapweasel at May 22, 2013 09:45 PM (7gwGw)

60 Sometime, we'll need an astrolabe and orrery thread.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at May 22, 2013 09:47 PM (x4x3r)

61 "Keep looking up Uranus"

Posted by: Jack Horkheimer at May 22, 2013 09:48 PM (Hx2XA)

62 weft cut-loop is a good man. His link works perfectly.

...Thank you, Sir!

Posted by: Slapweasel at May 22, 2013 09:48 PM (7gwGw)

63
@58 Please, don't.

Astronomy soon and then what, biology? Will we be expected to dissect frogs?

Posted by: BubbaLou at May 22, 2013 09:50 PM (qKpun)

64 Frank Zappa's 1975 album "One Size Fits All" had a hilarious spoof of constellations on the back cover.

http://tinyurl.com/qe2ab7q

Unfortunately I can't find it at a resolution that is readable. Sigh. Makes me long for the days of LPs.

Posted by: rickl at May 22, 2013 09:52 PM (sdi6R)

65 Thanks Weft Cut Loop. It downloaded on my Mac and I can't open it.

I have a Windows 8 computer that I bought to work from home with. I'll go try it on that one.
Carol

Posted by: CarolT at May 22, 2013 09:53 PM (z4WKX)

66
My Dipper is bigger than your Horkheimer.

Posted by: Cockfight! at May 22, 2013 09:53 PM (qKpun)

67 "Thanks Weft Cut Loop. It downloaded on my Mac and I can't open it.



I have a Windows 8 computer that I bought to work from home with. I'll go try it on that one.

Carol"
___________________________________________________
Install the Yahoo Toolbar and you'll get the "+RSS" at the top of the page, on the toolbar, of course.

Posted by: Slapweasel at May 22, 2013 09:57 PM (7gwGw)

68 I have a Little Dipper so I compensate with Gas Giants.

Posted by: whatmeworry? at May 22, 2013 09:59 PM (Q3WfW)

69 I have a Windows 8 computer that I bought to work from home with. I'll go try it on that one.
Carol

Posted by: CarolT


Hmm.

What RSS 'reader' do you use? Yahoo or Google?

I'd steer clear of toolbars. They take up resources and inevitable become vectors.

Posted by: weft cut-loop at May 22, 2013 10:01 PM (dwArK)

70 What RSS 'reader' do you use? Yahoo or Google?

I'd steer clear of toolbars. They take up resources and inevitable become vectors.

Posted by: weft cut-loop at May 22, 2013 10:01 PM (dwArK)


I use Opera, which has that and everything else already built into it.

Posted by: The Political Hat at May 22, 2013 10:09 PM (Vk2pI)

71 58
It makes it easier to "hop" from familiar stars to unfamiliar ones, which is why I frown upon planispheres and star maps at least for those who've never had even a 101 course in Astronomy.

Posted by: CAC at May 22, 2013 09:45 PM (cO+qh)


Actually, I was going to suggest using a planisphere for learning constellations. You can buy them in bookstores or the science section of toy stores. They're only around $10-$20, and they're meant to be used with the naked eye, so you don't need a telescope or binoculars.

Set it for your current time and face in the appropriate direction. Look for the brightest stars that you can see with the naked eye, and work your way fainter. If you see a bright "star" that is not plotted, then it is likely that you are looking at a planet.

Think of constellations as being like maps. You won't be able to see a "hunter" or a "scorpion". They're just patterns of stars. If you can recognize the shapes of countries or states on a map, then you can learn to recognize the shapes of constellations.

Then, if you read of a new comet being "in Sagittarius", you'll know the general direction in which to look.

If you live in a city, it is hard to see even the brightest stars. If you live in the suburbs, then you should be able to pick out a number of constellations. The times when I've been in rural areas, I've been so overwhelmed by the sheer number of stars visible that I've had trouble picking out constellations I already knew.

Posted by: rickl at May 22, 2013 10:11 PM (sdi6R)

72 I'll try it again later Weft Cut Loop. I haven't' eaten today. I can't afford to lose any weight.
Carol

Posted by: CarolT at May 22, 2013 10:15 PM (z4WKX)

73 Then, if you read of a new comet being "in Sagittarius", you'll know the general direction in which to look.

And a planisphere can also give you an idea of what time to look.

Posted by: rickl at May 22, 2013 10:16 PM (sdi6R)

74 I agree with weft cut-loop, in terms of toolbars. Yahoo is amongst the most intrusive, (don't use the search), but the resources are minimal on a good computer.

I use Norton's, (Ask.com), Search Engine. There's no getting away from the vectors, but you can minimal-ize them, as I'm sure weft cut-loop is a big fan.

I'd defer to his approach, but I'm a victim of "convenience".

Posted by: Slapweasel at May 22, 2013 10:18 PM (7gwGw)

75 I have app in iPhone called Night Sky. I will have to remember to use it Sunday. Thanks CAC.

Posted by: CarolT at May 22, 2013 10:20 PM (z4WKX)

76 rickl-
I think they need to make one for suburban skies. Cancer is all but invisible here. Monoceros too. Hydra virtually non-existent. It would make it easier for people to learn where things were through hopping, such as "arcing" from the handle of the dipper through Arturus and Spica.
Changing things up a pace, recently I had seen Orion spelled Urion in a babylonian reference, which was interesting to me, but then I found out the Greeks actually built a story around the older name, very moron-esque. From Ian Ridpath's "Star Tales":
here is a strange and persistent story about the birth of Orion, designed to account for the early version of his name, Urion (even closer to the Sumerian original URU AN-NA). According to this story, there lived in Thebes an old farmer named Hyrieus. One day he offered hospitality to three passing strangers, who happened to be the gods Zeus, Neptune and Hermes. After they had eaten, the visitors asked Hyrieus if he had any wishes. The old man confessed that he would have liked a son, and the three gods promised to fulfil his wish. Standing together around the hide of the ox they had just consumed, the gods urinated on it and told Hyrieus to bury the hide. From it in due course was born a boy whom Hyrieus named Urion after the mode of his conception.

Posted by: CAC at May 22, 2013 10:24 PM (cO+qh)

77 OK, I don't have a smartphone, but I guess an app could be as good as a planisphere, and probably better.

/turns off internetz, goes back to knapping flint

Posted by: rickl at May 22, 2013 10:26 PM (sdi6R)

78 Thanks for the astronomy posts, CAC. I've been a fan of all things astronomical since I was a child. My long-suffering parents humored me by buying a telescope at age 6 and getting up with me to watch meteor showers, eclipses, and whatnot.

Back in the mid- to late-sixties, we could see all the major and most of the minor constellations from Dallas. Now we can't see squat except for the brightest stars and planets. I miss my old friends.

Posted by: Michael the Hobbit, but you can call me Michael at May 22, 2013 10:56 PM (7cS5n)

79 OK, I don't have a smartphone, but I guess an app could be as good as a planisphere, and probably better.

/turns off internetz, goes back to knapping flint

Posted by: rickl


If ever the electrical grid gets shut down for an extended period, flint knapping will slightly outweigh all the smartphones.

(from an suburban goof what knows nothing about anything remotely worthwhile.)

Posted by: weft cut-loop at May 22, 2013 10:57 PM (dwArK)

80 Well, if it's gonna make me miss Game of Thrones, I'll pass. That reminds me: HBO sez some kinda GoT shit's going on. Are they saying they'll have a new episode "in 2 weeks." Or that they'll have 2 new episodes"in 2 weeks?"

Posted by: Ray Sist, Bum at May 22, 2013 11:10 PM (2bNRv)

81 So, how about that corellation cited last week, between measured variations in the rates of radioactive decay of various isotopes on Earth, followed by a 39 hour delay, and an abrupt increase in Solar CME's?

Hunh?

Anyone?

Bueller?

Posted by: stetson.hat at May 22, 2013 11:15 PM (hX4ke)

82 This isn't exactly "space music", but it's not too far off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DED812HKWyM

RIP, Ray.

Posted by: rickl at May 22, 2013 11:44 PM (sdi6R)

83 Not here. We've been socked in for days.

Posted by: TOF at May 22, 2013 11:59 PM (PV2IU)

84 Jack ... Jack Horkheimer, well then you are looking for Debussy. Arabesque #1. Here is a fun version that demonstrates the excellent complexity of the piece. I miss Jack, ever so much.http://preview.tinyurl.com/3xwt9an

Posted by: and irresolute at May 23, 2013 12:28 AM (DBH1h)

85
ISON is going to be sooo muuuch fun!! We haven't had a really, really good naked eye experience since .. since .. what, was it Hyakutake or was it Hale-Bopp? Damn, hate a memory!

Posted by: and irresolute at May 23, 2013 12:46 AM (DBH1h)

86 Night all.

Here is "Octavarium" by Dream Theater:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH_9lJxeiXg

Posted by: Psychedelicat at May 23, 2013 02:10 AM (Vk2pI)






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