Skylights featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day

Scout Report Selection Webivore Selection SpaceCareers Selection

Skylights featured three times on Earth Science Picture of the Day: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 .

Crescent Moon

Photo of the Week.. An evening crescent Moon hangs between the trees.

Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, October 29, 2004.

The Moon, having survived its eclipse by the Earth's shadow, takes the whole week to wane through its gibbous phase, and then ends the period at the third quarter, that phase reached the night of Thursday, November 4, about the time of Moonrise in North America. With the Sun about halfway to its low point at the Winter Solstice in Sagittarius, the quarter will be on the downslide of the ecliptic and just to the west of the Sickle of Leo. In the middle of the week, Tuesday the 2nd, the Moon passes apogee, where it is farthest from the Earth. The waning gibbous passes Saturn during the day of Wednesday, November 3, so it will be just to the west of the ringed planet the night of Tuesday the 2nd, and to the east of it the following night.

While not really an astronomical event, note that Daylight Savings Time in the US ends on Sunday, October 31.

Saturn, now rising about 10 PM Standard Time, is our only evening naked-eye planet. To see more of the planets, you must wait for the morning, at which time you can see Venus and Jupiter rising just after 3:30 AM. To rise nearly simultaneously, they must be close together (in angle as seen from Earth, hardly in distance, Jupiter five times farther away). And indeed, they will come into conjunction with each other during the day on Thursday, November 4th. This marvelous event, the meeting of the two brightest planets, will be nicely on display the mornings of Thursday the 4th and Friday the 5th. At their closest, the two will be only 0.6 of a degree apart, brighter Venus passing to the north of giant Jupiter. Just to the left of the pair look for Porrima in Virgo, which will appear as a much fainter third conjunctive companion. Way down below the two you might glimpse Virgo's Spica rising out of brighter twilight, and then down and to the left of it, Mars, which is beginning to make its appearance, rising just after dawn begins. Spica and Mars are in conjunction the morning of Sunday, October 31, with the planet three degrees to the north of the star.

As you admire the morning planets, note Orion now well to the west of the meridian at dawn as he heads toward his annual evening show. As Jupiter and Venus rise, Sirius in Canis Major, Orion's larger Dog, crosses the meridian to the south. The evening stage is set with the heart of the stars of fall. With Cygnus and the summer gang heading off to the west, the Great Square of Pegasus is seen high to the south, while Andromeda stretches off to the northwest as its star- streams connect with Perseus, the Hero of the great story of Cassiopeia, herself seen crossing the meridian around 10 PM as the Big Dipper crosses beneath the pole.
Valid HTML 4.0!