Skylights featured five times on Earth Science
Picture of the Day: 1
Photo of the Week.. Venus (the brighter) and Jupiter
shine together the evening of September 1, 2005, only 11 hours
before true conjunction, the approach to
which graced evening skies for days.
Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, October 14, 2005.
Skylights celebrates its quarter-millionth visitor.
The Moon begins the week late in its waxing
gibbous phase, then rolls through full the morning of Monday, October
17, when it will clip the Earth's shadow for a minimal partial eclipse that will be visible in the
morning hours in central and western North America and Hawaii.
Only a tiny bite will be taken out of the Moon's southern edge.
Look around 6 AM Mountain Daylight Time, 5 AM PDT, 2 AM in Hawaii.
The Moon will be at or near moonset in the Central Time Zone (7
AM). You'll have to look carefully to see this one. The remainder
of the week sees a waning gibbous Moon. The night of Tuesday the
18th, the Moon will rise above very bright reddish Mars (which comes
up over the eastern horizon in twilight around 7:30 PM Daylight
Time). The following night, the Moon will be to the east of the
planet, will rise to the left of it, and at the same time will be
to the south of the Pleiades
star cluster of Taurus.
Venus, brilliantly visible in the west in twilight, sets almost
an hour after Mars rises, so it is becoming at least possible
(without horizon murk and obstructions) to see them in the sky at
the same time, at least figuratively, since they are actually
opposite each other as they briefly bookend the celestial sphere. Venus now also goes
down in a darkened sky, about half an hour after twilight ends.
During the day on Sunday the 16th, the planet passes 1.6 degrees to
the north of Antares in Scorpius. The evening of Saturday the
15th, the planet will be just to the west of the star, the
following night just to the east, the red supergiant and the
creamy-white planet making a fine color contrast. Back in the
other direction, to the east, Saturn
undergoes something of a transition to evening as it rises at local
midnight (1 AM Daylight Time) in Cancer to the east of Castor and Pollux in Gemini.
Orionid meteor shower, believed to be one of the two spawns of
Comet (the other May's
Eta Aquarids), runs for several days, peaking on the morning of
Friday the 21st. In a dark sky, the shower is quite good (perhaps
20 a minute), but a rather bright Moon will hamper much of the
The stars of the Andromeda
myth are now beautifully on stage. Look especially for the Great Square of Pegasus high to the east at
nightfall, appearing more like a giant diamond. Stretching out to
the northeast are the streams of bright stars that make the maiden
Andromeda herself, the constellation pointing the way to her
rescuer Perseus, whose star streams
stem from a prominent cluster
at the center. Farther to the northeast, watch for the rising of
Capella in Auriga, showing us that while fall
is now at hand, winter is not far behind.