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What's Up...
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.

Tues. Nov. 1 – Given a clear night, the southern sky should be stunning this evening. The neatly divided First Quarter Moon will join Saturn looking over Okanagan scenes from deep in the southern sky.

Fri. Nov. 4 – Making her rounds, tonight waxing gibbous Luna will check out Jupiter to ornament the southern sky. Since at this time of the year the ecliptic, or plane of the solar system, is seen to tilt upwards toward the east, both Luna and the gas giant will be well placed higher in the sky.

Sat. Nov. 5 - 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 night sky observing starting tomorrow.

Tues. Nov. 8 – Get set for a real treat very early this morning if the weatherman gives us a break! A total Lunar eclipse will take place with the first bite out of the lunar disk arriving at 1.09am. This will of course be preceded by the gradual dimming of the disk as it progresses through the Earth’s prenumbra or partial shadow.  The total eclipse will begin at 2.16am, mid totality will arrive at 2.59am, and the disk will start to exit the dark umbral shadow at 3.42am. The partial eclipse will end at 4.49am.

Wed. Nov. 9 –  In the wee hours this morning the just past full Moon will be cozying up to the Pleiades open star cluster in Taurus, high in the southern sky. Don’t miss the beautiful Hyades and Aldebaran to their lower left.

Fri. Nov. 11 – Very early this morning there will be a beautiful grouping high in the southern sky. The now waning gibbous Moon has moved between the horns of Taurus the Bull to join ruddy Mars for quite a remarkable tableau.

Fri. Nov. 11 - Don't be surprised if you hear reports of an occasional bright fireball this month. If you are lucky enough to see one yourself, it is likely to be a member of one of the two Taurid meteor showers, the southern one peaked on Oct. 29-30 though members continue through to November 20. The northern one reaches its maximum tonight with members emanating from a point just southwest of the Pleiades in Taurus. The just past Full Moon will not make this easy. At best there are only a handful per hour, but the comet debris from Comet 2P/Encke includes pebbles as well as dust grains and these produce dramatic fireballs.

Sun. Nov. 13 –  Continuing on her voyage along the upper cusp of the ecliptic path, Luna has now moved into the realm of Gemini with the twins Castor and Pollux just to her upper left.

Wed. 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 the sickle of Leo in the eastern morning sky. The Leonids are not a strong meteor shower with perhaps only around 10 - 15 streaks per hour at maximum, and this year the Last Quarter Moon will compromise them.

Sat. Nov. 19 – This evening will offer another opportunity to catch ‘the Demon Star’ in one of its blinks. Algol in Perseus, high in the east, will reach its minimum brightness in a two hour time period centered at 7.25pm. Compare its regular brightness with neighbouring stars perhaps around 7.30pm and then check it out after 8.45pm to catch it at its regular brightness.

Mon. Nov. 21 – The now thin crescent Moon will rise before dawn this morning after having an earlier encounter with Spica, the leading star of the constellation Virgo which is now to her upper right. That tiny bright star has a secret. At home about 250 light years away it would reveal itself as two large suns which orbit each other so closely that their mutual gravity distorts them into an egg shape. In fact they orbit each other in only four days.

Wed. Nov. 23 –This is New Moon night with Luna tucked between us and the Sun leaving the night sky open to deep sky observing and imaging… providing the weatherman cooperates with clear skies.

Mon. Nov. 28 – The waxing crescent Moon is again ascending into the evening sky. As the sky darkens, low in the south, Luna will be in the company of Saturn sitting just above her among the stars of Capricornus.

Wed. Nov. 30 – Tonight neatly divided Luna in First Quarter phase will look down on early winter scenes in the Okanagan from the stars of Aquarius. Jupiter will pose to her upper left while Saturn will look on from the lower right in Capricornus.