CAYA Sprouts New Moon Stargazing Guide - December 2017

by Shell Selvans

Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, I welcome you to go outside with your family at 7:00PM or later and enjoy the Midwinter sky. This is the best time of year to stargaze with the littlest ones, since the sky will be dark before their bedtime!

In the early evening... To the west, you will catch the Summer Triangle and its associated constellations sinking below the horizon. Overhead you will find Cassiopeia.

To the east, some of the brightest stars in our sky are all rising together, called the Winter Hexagon on the star chart. This group includes Betelgeuse and Rigel in Osiris/Orion, Isis/Sirius in Canis Major, Procyon in Canis Minor, Castor and Pollux in Gemini, Capella in Auriga/The Charioteer, and Aldebaran in Taurus.

To the north you will find Ursa Major romping along the horizon, with the pointer stars above the horizon, pointing the way to the steady location of Polaris, the North Star.

On December 21, in the northern hemisphere, we will have our longest night of the year, which I love to celebrate with some stargazing. This year, however, I will be visiting family under the southern sky instead! Much of what I will see from Mauritius (20 degrees south latitude) will be the same as what I would see back home (38 degrees north)... but I won't be able to see the bears (and North Star), and instead I'll see the Southern Cross, as well as the Magellanic clouds, which are two dwarf galaxies that orbit our own Milky Way galaxy.

The following star chart can help you find your way around the sky: 

December 2017 Star Chart

Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing. After 8:00PM, the stars will have rotated a bit from where they're shown. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., or a similar latitude.

Blessed be your stargazing!

If you enjoyed this and would like to connect more deeply with the stars, our magical community, and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our final “Children of Promise” New Moon working of 2017!

CAYA Sprouts New Moon Stargazing Guide - November 2017

by Shell Selvans

Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, I welcome you to go outside with your family at 8:00PM or so and enjoy the early, dark sky.

The winter stars return! The winter season may be colder and less full of green, growing things than the rest of the year, but the stars are glorious. And with a cup of hot cider, what could be better?

Look to the east at 9:00PM or so and you will find the bright stars and constellations that will be overhead in the depths of winter: Orion's belt (and Betelgeuse and Rigel) and Sirius (Hail Isis!) (see January's post for more details), and the red Aldebaran in Taurus. The are also close to Capella (see October's post for more details), and make up a circle of the greatest concentration of bright stars in our night sky.

Look up from the horizon from Aldebaran and you'll see the Pleiades - this cluster of baby stars (only 100 million years old!) marks the holiday of Samhain/Halloween, when it rises at dusk… so that the Pleiades are directly overhead at midnight that night.

The following star chart can help you find Orion, Aldebaran, and the Pleiades:

October 2017 Star Chart

Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing. After 8:00PM, the stars will have rotated a bit from where they're shown. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., or a similar latitude.

Blessed be your stargazing!

If you enjoyed this and would like to connect more deeply with the stars, our magical community and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our monthly “Children of Promise” New Moon working!

CAYA Sprouts New Moon Stargazing Guide - October 2017

by Shell Selvans

Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, I welcome you to go outside with your family at 8:00PM or so and enjoy the earlier-and-earlier darkening sky.

You will still be able to find the Summer Triangle, no longer overhead but instead down toward the western horizon. Cassiopeia instead is almost directly overhead. If you follow the way the tail of Cygnus the swan (the bright star Deneb of the Summer Triangle) is pointing along the Milky Way, you will move through Cassiopeia to another bright star, Capella.

Capella is one of the three brightest stars in the northern sky (Vega and Arcturus are the others), and has been known for millennia as a goat star - the name means little (female) goat in Latin. She is part of the constellation Auriga, the charioteer. Capella is also associated with ancient constellations of a goat-herd (with several stars making up the herd), or a shepherd, and throughout the years Auriga has sometimes been shown carrying a goat. Capella was the brightest star in our night sky ~200,000 years ago, so it's fun to wonder what our ancestors may have thought of it then!

The following star chart can help you find Capella and Auriga: 

October 2017 Star Chart

Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing. After 9:00PM, the stars will have rotated a bit from where they're shown. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., or a similar latitude.

Blessed be your stargazing!

If you enjoyed this and would like to connect more deeply with the stars, our magical community and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our monthly “Children of Promise” New Moon working!

CAYA Sprouts New Moon Stargazing Guide - September 2017

by Shell Selvans

Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, I welcome you to go outside with your family at 9:00PM or so and enjoy the Fall Equinox stars. With the nights rapidly lengthening, you can go out earlier and earlier to stargaze!

This time of year for me is a time of comfort and familiarity in my stargazing. Shortly after sunset, Cygnus, Lyra, and Aquila (the Summer Triangle constellations) are still overhead, Cassiopeia is along the Milky Way to the northeast, and Sagittarius is along the Milky Way to the southwest. And of course Polaris (of the Little Bear) is steadfastly to the north.

There is of course so much more to learn of the stars, more constellations and stories. But the brightest stars are familiar, and I enjoy sitting under them and basking in the starlight from hundreds and thousands of light-years away. (Stargazing without a telescope, we can see light from stars up to ~16,000 light years away - a faint star in Cassiopeia! This is just a little bit of the Milky Way galaxy, which is ~100,000 light years across, with the nearest edge being ~23,000 light years from us. I like to think of this limited naked eye vision of our own galaxy as a Hekate situation, seeing just far enough out to know our place but not so far that we are overwhelmed by the landscape.)

I challenge you at this point in the year to revel in the stars you know, but to also look at them with a creative eye: find a new constellation on the star chart that you want to learn, or make one of your own! Put your own story to it, and share it with your family, or the next person you stand under the stars with. :)

The following star chart can help you find your way:

September 2017 Star Chart

Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing. After 9:00PM, the stars will have rotated a bit from where they're shown. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., or a similar latitude.

Blessed be your stargazing, with the New Moon and at the time of the Equinox!

If you enjoyed this and would like to connect more deeply with the stars, our magical community and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our monthly “Children of Promise” New Moon working!

Source: http://www.cayacoven.org/children-of-promi...

CAYA Sprouts New Moon Stargazing Guide - August 2017 - Total Solar Eclipse Edition!

by Shell Selvans

Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, we welcome you to go outside with your family at 10:00PM or so and enjoy the late summer stars!

To celebrate continued summer stargazing, find the Summer Triangle, with bright Vega directly overhead (see the July stargazing post for more on the Summer Triangle).

Directly south you'll be able to find the teapot, Sagittarius, pouring out steam that is the Milky Way. Sagittarius' spout points at the center of our galaxy, as does the tail of Scorpius, now in the southwest. With Saturn still bright above the center of the galaxy, you can easily find that dark center that all three encircle!

Another special celestial phenomenon you might want to find the exact location of is happening on the Earth instead of in the skies. Next Monday, August 21, the next Total Solar Eclipse will move across the United States in the morning (see this map for timing, which varies by location). I say it "happens on Earth instead of in the skies" because you need to be on Earth to see it… if you were out in space, you would still be able to look at the center of our galaxy, but you wouldn't be in the right place and time for the eclipse!

At precisely the local time of the New Moon, the Moon will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun, casting a dark circle below. You can be in that dark circle for about 2 minutes or less, until it moves along as the Sun and Moon move in the sky, flying across North America from west to east. If you're in the right place and time, and have good weather, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY have a pair of solar glasses to protect your eyes… send the magic out to all of us, if you find you have some miraculous energy to spare!

If you're not in the path of the total eclipse, but are anywhere in North America, you can view the eclipse with a pinhole camera. This kind of camera makes an image safe and easy to see (see this web page to make your own). You will be able to see the partially eclipsed sun in the image on the ground, after light from the Sun passes through the tiny pinhole. And whether you're in the path of totality or not, you'll get to see the hours-long process of the Moon moving in front of the Sun, not just the brief moment when the two are directly aligned!

The following star chart can help you find Sagittarius:

August 2017 Star Chart

 

Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing. After 11:00PM, the stars will have rotated a bit from where they're shown. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., or a similar latitude.

Blessed be your stargazing!

If you enjoyed this and would like to connect more deeply with the stars, our magical community and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our monthly “Children of Promise” New Moon working!

Source: http://www.cayacoven.org/children-of-promi...