| 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. 1 -The waxing crescent Moon will open the new month with a visit to the ringed planet Saturn, low in the southwest sky just after sunset.
Sat. 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. 2 - 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. 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.
Mon. Nov. 4 - This is First Quarter Moon night. Our neatly divided companion will ride dramatically low in the southern sky in the constellation Capricorn as night falls.
Wed. Nov. 6 - Tonight the waxing gibbous Moon will make finding the outer ice giant Neptune easier. With a telescope, look for the tiny pale blue disk less than the width of three fingers to the north of our neighbour.
Fri. Nov. 8 – Tonight will offer an opportunity to catch ‘the Demon Star’ in one of its blinks. Algol in Perseus, high overhead, will reach its minimum brightness in a two hour time period centered at 11.57pm this evening. Compare its dimmer brightness with neighbouring stars early in the evening and then check it out around midnight to see the difference in brightness.
Sun. Nov. 10 - For early risers, Mars is now in the close vicinity of bright Spica in the constellation Virgo low in the eastern sky just before dawn.
Mon. Nov. 11 – It is exciting to observe celestial happenings in real time. In this case it is the rare opportunity to see the inner planet Mercury cross the Sun’s disk, something that will not happen again until 2032. In the Okanagan, given clear skies, we will be able to catch the action as the Sun rises… the transit will already be underway. Mercury will exit the disk at 10.04am. Safe solar filters will be needed whether you plan to spy the tiny planetary disk through binoculars or a telescope.
Tues. Nov. 12 - This is Full Moon night. The fully lit sphere will check out early signs of winter in the Okanagan while sidling toward the stars of Taurus, the harbinger constellation of the coming season
Wed. Nov. 13 - Abandoning pretence, tonight the waning gibbous Moon moves right into Taurus, posing about the width of three fingers from brilliant Aldebaran.
Thurs. Nov. 14 – Algol will offer another magic show tonight, this time at a convenient hour. Catch its relative brightness to neighbouring stars in Perseus during the two hours centered at 8.35pm, and then notice its much brighter appearance after 10pm.
Sat. Nov. 16 - 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, and this year a waning gibbous Moon will compromise them.
Tues. Nov. 19 - This is Last Quarter Moon night. The reverse lit half-sphere will rise after midnight in the company of Regulus and the stars of Leo which are getting into position for their spring performance in a few months time.
Sat. Sun. Nov. 23/24 - For those who missed seeing the close conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in January, there is a second opportunity on these two evenings for those who have access to a low southwestern horizon. The brilliant planetary pair will be only about the width of a finger apart low in the southwest after nightfall.
Sun. Nov. 24 - The thin, waning crescent Moon is low in the east as it rises in the company of Mars which is surreptitiously moving further into the morning sky. Probably too far south to see, tiny Mercury will hover just below and to their left.
Tues. Nov. 26 - This is New Moon night with our companion fully out of the way of deep sky observing and imaging… providing the weather cooperates at this tricky time of the year.
Thurs. Nov. 28 - The young waxing crescent Moon will be quite close to brilliant Venus low in the southwestern sky as night falls tonight.
Fri. Nov. 29 - The waxing crescent Moon will be quite close to Saturn tonight, again low in the southwestern sky.