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GENERAL ASTRONOMY ARTICLES


THE CONSTELLATIONS : Part 3
CULMINATION TIMES


CULMINATION of the CONSTELLATIONS

A culmination occurs when some star or constellation crosses the local meridian to reaching its highest (or lowest point) in the sky, and knowing when this occurs is very useful to both visual or telescopic observations of the night sky. By knowing when some celestial object crosses the local meridian, means that their general appearance will be at their very best, and without the hindrance of the atmospheric effects; such as seeing, refraction or air mass.

Culminations for non-circumpolar stars, that can rise and set below the horizon, happens once each day. However, because of the Earths motion orbits the Sun, the time each successive culmination falls on, becomes earlier by about four minutes for every day that passes. The exact instant of local time of the local meridian is formally called the Sidereal Time, which is exactly corresponds to the local meridians Right Ascension. In other circumstances, if some constellation or celestial object appears circumpolar — never setting below the local horizon — two culminations can occur, being the upper culmination (highest) and lower culmination.

In Table 1, the dates when this occurs are conveniently expressed for midnight (12pm) and in the early evening at 9pm, when most observers would be looking at the nighttime sky. To find the culmination times at other times of the year, subtract 15 days for ever hour that is earlier than this date. For times that are later; add fifteen (15) days for every hour. If the date is different than specified, then add or subtract twenty-eight (28) minutes for each week that has elapsed or is to come.

This page shows three main tables. These are the culmination times of the constellations and for the bright stars at either midnight (12pm) and the evening (9pm.) Culminations are listed below as;

Table 1. The Constellations (By Date)

Table 2. The Constellations (By Name)

Table 3. Bright Stars, plus Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.


COMMENTS

An average difference between dates in the tables below, is 45.66 or 45½ days. It is possible to calculate for other specific times, I.e. Finding for 12pm, by adding 45½ to the 9pm tabulated date, or even finding 3pm, by adding 91 days to the 9pm tabulated date.

Traditionally, all culminations at a fixed date are given in some form of tabulated list, but a planisphere can also easily provide this same information.

Observers are mostly interested in the dates corresponding to their upper culmination, which are the dates in the Tables below. If the lower culmination is required to be known, the difference in dates is exactly earlier or later by six months.)



Table 1. Culmination of Constellations from Any Latitude
(By Calendar Date)

Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm
Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm
Octans Circum. Circum. Apus 05 Jul 21 Aug
Ursa Minor Circum. Circum. Triangulum Australe 07 Jul 23 Aug
Reticulum 03 Jan 18 Feb Draco 08 Jul 24 Aug
Taurus 14 Jan 01 Mar Scorpius 18 Jul 03 Sep
Caelum 15 Jan 02 Mar Serpens Caput 21 Jul 06 Sep
Ophiuchus 26 Jul 11 Sep Orion 27 Jan 14 Mar
Lepus 28 Jan 15 Mar Ara 25 Jul 10 Sep
Mensa 28 Jan 15 Mar Hercules 28 Jul 13 Sep
Pictor 30 Jan 17 Mar Serpens Cauda 01 Aug 14 Sep
Dorado 31 Jan 18 Mar Corona Australis 14 Aug 29 Sep
Lyra 18 Aug 03 Oct Columba 01 Feb 19 Mar
Scutum 15 Aug 31 Sep Auriga 04 Feb 02 Mar
Camelopardalis 06 Feb 24 Mar Sagittarius 22 Aug 07 Oct
Canis Major 16 Feb 04 Apr Telescopium 24 Aug 09 Oct
Gemini 19 Feb 07 Apr Pavo 29 Aug 14 Oct
Monoceros 19 Feb 07 Apr Aquila 30 Aug 15 Oct
Puppis 22 Feb 10 Apr Sagitta 30 Aug 15 Oct
Canis Minor 28 Feb 16 Apr Vulpecula 08 Sep 24 Oct
Volans 04 Mar 20 Apr Cygnus 13 Sep 29 Oct
Lynx 05 Mar 23 Apr Delphinus 14 Sep 30 Oct
Cancer 16 Mar 01 May Microscopium 18 Sep 03 Nov
Carina 17 Mar 02 May Capricornus 22 Sep 07 Nov
Pyxis 21 Mar 06 May Equuleus 22 Sep 07 Nov
Vela 30 Mar 15 May Indus 26 Sep 11 Nov
Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm
Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm
Sextans 08 Apr 23 May Aquarius 09 Oct 24 Nov
Leo Minor 09 Apr 24 May Piscis Austrinus 09 Oct 24 Nov
Antlia 10 Apr 25 May Grus 12 Oct 27 Nov
Leo 15 Apr 30 May Lacerta 12 Oct 27 Nov
Chamaeleon 15 Apr 30 May Pegasus 16 Oct 01 Dec
Ursa Major 25 Apr 09 Jun Tucana 01 Nov 17 Dec
Crater 26 Apr 10 Jun Sculptor 10 Nov 26 Dec
Hydra 29 Apr 13 Jun Pisces 11 Nov 27 Dec
Corvus 12 May 28 Jun Cepheus 13 Nov 29 Dec
Crux 12 May 28 Jun Phoenix 18 Nov 03 Jan
Centaurus 14 May 30 Jun Andromeda 23 Nov 08 Jan
Coma Berenices 14 May 30 Jun Cassiopeia 23 Nov 08 Jan
Musca 14 May 30 Jun Andromeda 23 Nov 08 Jan
Canes Venatici 22 May 07 Jul Cassiopeia 23 Nov 08 Jan
Virgo 26 May 11 Jul Cetus 29 Nov 14 Jan
Circinus 14 Jun 30 Jul Triangulum 07 Dec 22 Jan
Bootes 16 Jun 01 Aug Hydrus 10 Dec 25 Jan
Libra 23 Jun 08 Aug Aries 14 Dec 29 Jan
Lupus 23 Jun 08 Aug Fornax 17 Dec 02 Feb
Corona Borealis 03 Jul 19 Aug Perseus 22 Dec 07 Feb
Norma 03 Jul 19 Aug Eridanus 25 Dec 10 Feb
Horologium 25 Dec 10 Feb
Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm
Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm

NOTES : Table 1 lists Eighty-Nine (89) constellations culminations, where divided Serpens, lies on either side of Ophiuchus. These constellations are termed Serpens Cauda and Serpens Caput, whose culminations are about ten days apart.




Table 2. Culmination of Constellations from Any Latitude
(In Alphabetical Order)

Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm
Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm
Andromeda 23 Nov 08 Jan Antlia 10 Apr 25 May
Apus 05 Jul 21 Aug Aquarius 09 Oct 24 Nov
Aquila 30 Aug 15 Oct Ara 25 Jul 10 Sep
Aries 14 Dec 29 Jan Auriga 04 Feb 02 Mar
Bootes 16 Jun 01 Aug Caelum 15 Jan 02 Mar
Camelopardalis 06 Feb 24 Mar Cancer 16 Mar 01 May
Canes Venatici 22 May 07 Jul Canis Major 16 Feb 04 Apr
Canis Minor 28 Feb 16 Apr Capricornus 22 Sep 07 Nov
Carina 17 Mar 02 May Cassiopeia 23 Nov 08 Jan
Centaurus 14 May 30 Jun Cepheus 13 Nov 29 Dec
Cetus 29 Nov 14 Jan Chamaeleon 15 Apr 30 May
Circinus 14 Jun 30 Jul Columba 01 Feb 19 Mar
Coma Berenices 14 May 30 Jun Corona Australis 14 Aug 29 Sep
Corona Borealis 03 Jul 19 Aug Corvus 12 May 28 Jun
Crater 26 Apr 10 Jun Crux 12 May 28 Jun
Cygnus 13 Sep 29 Oct Delphinus 14 Sep 30 Oct
Dorado 31 Jan 18 Mar Draco 08 Jul 24 Aug
Equuleus 22 Sep 07 Nov Eridanus 25 Dec 10 Feb
Fornax 17 Dec 02 Feb Gemini 19 Feb 07 Apr
Grus 12 Oct 27 Nov Hercules 28 Jul 13 Sep
Horologium 25 Dec 10 Feb Hydra 29 Apr 13 Jun
Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm
Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm
Hydrus 10 Dec 25 Jan Indus 26 Sep 11 Nov
Lacerta 12 Oct 27 Nov Leo 15 Apr 30 May
Leo Minor 09 Apr 24 May Lepus 28 Jan 15 Mar
Libra 23 Jun 08 Aug Lupus 23 Jun 08 Aug
Lynx 05 Mar 23 Apr Lyra 18 Aug 03 Oct
Mensa 28 Jan 15 Mar Microscopium 18 Sep 03 Nov
Monoceros 19 Feb 07 Apr Musca 14 May 30 Jun
Norma 03 Jul 19 Aug Octans Circum. Circum.
Ophiuchus 26 Jul 11 Sep Orion 27 Jan 14 Mar
Pavo 29 Aug 14 Oct Pegasus 16 Oct 01 Dec
Perseus 22 Dec 07 Feb Phoenix 18 Nov 03 Jan
Pictor 30 Jan 17 Mar Pisces 11 Nov 27 Dec
Piscis Austrinus 09 Oct 24 Nov Puppis 22 Feb 10 Apr
Pyxis 21 Mar 06 May Reticulum 03 Jan 18 Feb
Sagitta 30 Aug 15 Oct Sagittarius 22 Aug 07 Oct
Scorpius 18 Jul 03 Sep Sculptor 10 Nov 26 Dec
Scutum 15 Aug 31 Sep Serpens Caput 21 Jul 06 Sep
Serpens Cauda 01 Aug 14 Sep Sextans 08 Apr 23 May
Taurus 14 Jan 01 Mar Telescopium 24 Aug 09 Oct
Triangulum 07 Dec 22 Jan Triangulum Australe 07 Jul 23 Aug
Tucana 01 Nov 17 Dec Ursa Major 25 Apr 09 Jun
Ursa Minor Circum. Circum. Vela 30 Mar 15 May
Virgo 26 May 11 Jul Volans 04 Mar 20 Apr
Vulpecula 08 Sep 24 Oct
Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm
Constellation
Name
Culmination
Early Evening
9pm
Culmination
Evening
6pm

NOTES : Table 2 lists Eighty-Nine (89) constellations culminations, where divided Serpens, lies on either side of Ophiuchus. These constellations are named individually as Serpens Cauda and Serpens Caput, whose culminations are only about ten days apart.




Bright Star Culminations



Table 3.
BRIGHT STAR CULMINATIONS

Star Culmination Star Culmination
Name 6 p.m. 9 p.m. 12 a.m. Name 6 p.m. 9 p.m. 12 a.m.
Achernar 07 Jan 22 Nov 08 Oct Mimosa 23 Jun 08 May 24 Mar
Aldebaran 21 Feb 06 Jan 22 Nov Spica 08 Jul 23 May 08 Apr
Rigel 07 Mar 21 Jan 07 Dec Hadar 23 Jul 07 Jun 23 Apr
Capella 07 Mar 21 Jan 07 Dec Arcturus 23 Jul 07 Jun 23 Apr
Betelgeuse 08 Mar 22 Jan 08 Dec α Cen 24 Jul 08 Jun 24 Apr
Canopus 23 Mar 05 Feb 22 Dec Atria 23 Aug 08 Jul 24 May
Adhara 23 Mar 06 Feb 23 Dec Antares 23 Aug 08 Jul 24 May
Sirius 24 Mar 06 Feb 23 Dec Shaula 06 Sep 23 Jul 07 Jun
Procyon 08 Apr 21 Feb 07 Jan Altair 08 Oct 23 Aug 09 Jul
Castor 14 Apr 28 Feb 13 Jan Vega 14 Oct 30 Aug 01 Jul
Pollux 16 Apr 01 Mar 15 Jan Peacock 22 Oct 06 Sep 23 Jul
Dubhe 05 Jun 21 Apr 07 Mar Deneb 23 Oct 07 Sep 24 Jul
Acrux 22 Jun 08 May 24 Mar Formalhaut 21 Nov 07 Oct 23 Aug

LMC / SMC CULMINATIONS

LMC 08 Mar 21 Jan 07 Dec SMC 23 Dec 07 Nov 23 Sep


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Last Update : 4th December 2014

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