I was asked to define a time (most likely the month) and location of the picture below. enter image description here

I hope I understood it right that it is the south pole, because we don't see a Polar star in the middle. However, I don't understand how I can know the time.

Could anyone please help me? Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the south pole during winter is an excellent guess. Off the top of my head I can't see a way of going to any greater precision without going through historical records of aurora activity. $\endgroup$
    – Ingolifs
    Jul 22 '21 at 5:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm usually wrong about these things, but this image looks to me like it was selected to be impossible to tell exactly which month it was taken in. It's sometime in the winter in the southern hemisphere because the sky is dark, so it will be close to June, but I don't see how one can rule out May nor July completely. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 22 '21 at 5:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I can't positively identify any of the structures but just left of the top reminds me of the Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory building (and image) and the thing on the right could be one of these dishes (from here), in other words, yes it seems like the South Pole or nearby. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 22 '21 at 5:33
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Hang on, I got a lead. It's not something that you see, but something you don't see. The moon and planets. They spend about 50% of their time in the southern celestial hemisphere, but I don't see any obvious ones here. The brightest line close to the edge is Sirius, with a declination of -16 degrees. Jupiter, mars, venus and the moon will be brighter than that. The next bright stars towards the edge are Spica at -11 and Rigel at -8. I can't find a decent star candidate for what the orange one on the outer edge might be, so I think that's Saturn. $\endgroup$
    – Ingolifs
    Jul 22 '21 at 20:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The rest is a bit tedious - just use some kind of planetarium software to go back and find a period during winter in which there are no planets or moon in the southern sky. $\endgroup$
    – Ingolifs
    Jul 22 '21 at 20:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.