Historical happenings

1/14/1911 ~ The USS Arkansas, the largest U.S. battleship, is launched from the yards of the New York Shipbuilding Company.

1/14/1942 ~ President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders all aliens in the U.S. to register with the government.

1/14/2005 ~ Huygens, a probe, lands on Saturn’s moon Titan.



Most of the world operates on the 24 hour clock. For the use in Star charts all times are in that format and from now on I shall also use the coordinated universal time which many of you probably learned as Greenwich Meridian Time. To help with this I’m posting the conversion chart which gives the plus/minus hour for you location.
Read it carefully since it contains Standard and Daylight Saving times where applicable.

*0000 and 2400 are interchangeable.
2400 is associated with the date of the day ending, 0000 with the day just starting.


Beautiful and a deadly environment, loaded with radiation from the stars and the dust. This stellar spire extends right out of the Eagle Nebula.

Appearing like a winged fairy-tale creature poised on a pedestal, this object is actually a billowing tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula. The soaring tower is 9.5 light-years or about 57 trillion miles high, about twice the distance from our Sun to the next nearest star.

Stars in the Eagle Nebula are born in clouds of cold hydrogen gas that reside in chaotic neighborhoods, where energy from young stars sculpts fantasy-like landscapes in the gas. The tower may be a giant incubator for those newborn stars. A torrent of ultraviolet light from a band of massive, hot, young stars [off the top of the image] is eroding the pillar.

The starlight also is responsible for illuminating the tower’s rough surface. Ghostly streamers of gas can be seen boiling off this surface, creating the haze around the structure and highlighting its three-dimensional shape. The column is silhouetted against the background glow of more distant gas.

The edge of the dark hydrogen cloud at the top of the tower is resisting erosion, in a manner similar to that of brush among a field of prairie grass that is being swept up by fire. The fire quickly burns the grass but slows down when it encounters the dense brush. In this celestial case, thick clouds of hydrogen gas and dust have survived longer than their surroundings in the face of a blast of ultraviolet light from the hot, young stars. [snip]

The Eagle Nebula is located in the Whirlpool Galaxy Messier list (M51). The star chart locates where it is in the sky. You can’t see it without a most powerful telescope but these images are too fantastic to not view. Ursa Major is of course the Big Dipper.


This craggy fantasy mountaintop enshrouded by wispy clouds looks like a bizarre landscape from Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” or a Dr. Seuss book, depending on your imagination. The NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, which is even more dramatic than fiction, captures the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.
This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. The image celebrates the 20th anniversary of Hubble’s launch and deployment into an orbit around Earth.

Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from super-hot newborn stars in the nebula are shaping and compressing the pillar, causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of hot ionized gas can be seen flowing off the ridges of the structure, and wispy veils of gas and dust, illuminated by starlight, float around its towering peaks. The denser parts of the pillar are resisting being eroded by radiation much like a towering butte in Utah’s Monument Valley withstands erosion by water and wind.

Nestled inside this dense mountain are fledgling stars. Long streamers of gas can be seen shooting in opposite directions off the pedestal at the top of the image. Another pair of jets is visible at another peak near the center of the image. These jets (known as HH 901 and HH 902, respectively) are the signpost for new star birth. The jets are launched by swirling disks around the young stars, which allow material to slowly accrete onto the stars’ surfaces.

Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed the pillar on Feb. 1-2, 2010. The colors in this composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulfur (red).

The Carina Nebula is an immense cloud of gas and dust where a maelstrom of star birth and death is taking place. The nebula is located an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina the Keel (part of the older, larger southern constellation Argo Navis, the ship of Jason and the Argonauts).

Historical happenings

1/6/1910 ~ Union leaders ask President William H. Taft to investigate U.S. Steel’s practices.

1/6/1921 ~ The U.S. Navy orders the sale of 125 flying boats to encourage commercial aviation.

1/6/1987 ~ Astronomers report sighting a new galaxy 12 billion light years away.


On the early morning of Jan 6 and 7 the planets Mars and Jupiter will be in close

MARS + JUPITER CONJUNCTION: Awake before sunrise? Go outside and look southeast. Jupiter and Mars are converging for a beautiful conjunction in the pre-dawn sky. At closest approach on Jan. 6th and 7th, the Red Planet and the giant planet will be no more than a quarter of a degree (1/4o) apart–tight enough for both to fit in the field of view of binoculars at the same time. You won’t need binoculars, however. The two planets are easy to see with the naked eye.

For those not familiar, in the upper left hand corner in he data for the time on the sky map, the lat/long of the observation point. Columbia is Universal Time + 4. You will need to change the time relative to your location on the globe. The FOV is the field of view as if one was using a device to limit the area seen.
The planets are located in Libra constellation; the bright star in Libra is actually a double star. I listed it’s catalogue name. The ecliptic is the line upon which all planets rotate about the sun. Searching for any planet merely required looking along this line.
By 05;30 hours the planets will be considerable higher in the sky so you don’thave to get up quite so early.


This is a new Category which will appear when there is something of note to be seen in the sky either with the naked eye or with binoculars. Sometimes a telescope might be necessary. For those interested, links are given to the sites from whee this information is found.

January 31Total Lunar Eclipse.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of western North America, eastern Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Ocean. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information) (Click on this link for eclipse area.)

Time of the eclipse is 13:31 Universal Time (UT). South Caroline is four hours minus which makes it 05:31. We are not quite in the U2 zone of maximum totality but very close. This eclipse will occur just before moonset so one will not have to be up in the middle of the night to see it. For those driving to work early, you will get the show. this is an east coast to the Mississippi event.