| Observatory |
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...
The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal astro-experiences to look forward to.
Fri. Nov. 2 - The coming week will continue to offer the opportunity to view the Zodiacal Light, a delicate glowing triangle of light extending up from the horizon about an hour before sunrise. The phenomenon is caused by the Sun illuminating the disk of dust left over from planet formation in the solar system's equatorial plane.
Sat. Nov. 3 - Don't be surprised if you hear reports of the occasional bright fireball this month. If you are lucky enough to see one yourself, it is likely to be a member of the Taurid meteor shower which is active through most of the month. While the Taurids are few and far between, perhaps about a dozen an hour, it does include larger dust grains which produce dramatic fireballs emanating from the vicinity of the Hyades and Pleiades open clusters in Taurus.
Sat. Nov. 3 - Get set for our annual jolt! Yes, daylight saving time will end overnight tonight, so be sure to turn your clocks one hour back before retiring. Looking on the bright side, it is a time to savour since there will now be one less hour of evening daylight and an extra hour of dark sky starting tomorrow.
Sun. Nov. 4 – Mars continues its 2018 performance, moving from Capricornus into Aquarius. Tonight it will be its closest to Delta Capricorni, which at home 39 light years away is a complex multiple star system comprised of four members.
Mon. Nov. 5 – For early risers this morning, the waning crescent Moon will form a striking scene with brilliant Venus low in the eastern sky before dawn. The two objects will be separated by the width of your hand.
Wed. Nov. 7 – This is New Moon night, the heart of the dark moon period offering, if the weatherman cooperates, dark skies for deep sky exploration and photography.
Fri. Nov. 9 – A tricky observation may be possible if you have a very low southwestern horizon after sunset tonight. Mercury, which has just passed its greatest eastern elongation into the evening sky, will be just over the width of a finger from bright Antares in Scorpius as that constellation bids farewell, sinking further toward the Sun’s glare.
Sun. Nov. 11 – There will be a pretty picture low in the western sky after sunset tonight. The fingernail paring crescent Moon will be near Saturn, separated by only the width of two fingers from each other.
Mon. Nov. 12 – Tonight will offer another opportunity to catch ‘the Demon Star’ in one of its blinks. Algol in Perseus, climbing into the northeastern sky, will reach its minimum brightness in a two hour time period centered at 5.10pm this evening. Compare its dimmer brightness with neighbouring stars after nightfall and then check it out again later in the night to see the difference in brightness.
Tues. Nov. 13 – This is a heads up about Comet 46P Wirtanen which is climbing into the evening sky toward its closest approach to Earth around December 16. There is a possibility it could reach visual magnitudes in mid November. More information and a finder chart in the ‘Current Comet’ gallery in our Zenfolio website here: https://rascoc.zenfolio.com/p535261092
Wed. Nov. 14 – Venus, which entertained us so well through most of this year as our evening star has now entered the pre-dawn sky from stage east to begin its Morning Star role. Early this morning it will form a dynamic pairing with bright Spica, only the width of your little finger apart.
Thurs. Nov. 15 – The Moon is now at First Quarter, and tonight it celebrates its growing brightness with ruddy Mars. The two will be only the width of two fingers apart.
Sat. Nov. 17 - The annual Leonid meteor shower will peak after midnight tonight. The Leonids are known as being among the fastest meteors, hitting the Earth's atmosphere head on from a radiant point in Leo, in the eastern morning sky. The Leonids are not a strong meteor shower with perhaps only around 12 streaks per hour at maximum. The best opportunity will be in the early morning hours when the radiant in Leo climbs into the eastern sky and the waxing gibbous Moon has headed toward the western horizon.
Fri. Nov. 23 – Tonight, brightness will rule. The Full Moon will be near bright Aldebaran which is shining from its anchor position in the Hyades open star cluster in Taurus.
Fri. Nov. 23 – A bonus opportunity tonight will be the proximity of the waxing gibbous Moon to the outer ice giant planet Neptune. In a telescope the small blue disk will be about the width of two fingers north of the Moon.
Wed. Nov. 28 – Celestial taffic cops will be needed in the sky late tonight and early Thursday morning. The constellation Leo is anxious to start its trek from the eastern horizon further into the night sky, and its brightest star Regulus will cruise close to the almost last quarter Moon. In an adjacent intersection brilliant Venus will accelerate away from Spica, the brightest star in Virgo in the pre-dawn sky.
Thurs. Nov. 29 – Algol will offer another magic show tonight, this time at a convenient hour. Catch its relative brightness to neighbouring stars in Perseus early in the evening, and then notice its much dimmer appearance during the two hours centered on 10.04pm.
Thurs. Nov. 29 – Tonight also marks Last Quarter Moon with the neatly divided sphere rising around midnight and sticking around to ornament the new day the following morning. Darker skies are on the way!