Astronomy news for the two weeks starting Friday, November 2, 2012.
The next Skylights will appear on Friday, November 16. With
Daylight Savings Time ending on Sunday the 4th, all times below are
We start our fortnight with the Moon
in its waning gibbous phase, which is over
when the Moon hits third quarter the
evening of Tuesday, November 6, shortly before Moonrise in North
America. It then continues as a waning
crescent before reaching new on Tuesday the 13th, when it will
totally eclipse the Sun as seen from Australia
and a path through the south Pacific, after which it transitions to
evening's waxing crescent.
The night of Friday the 2nd, the Moon will rise with
Jupiter rather well to the west of it. Then look the morning
of Sunday the 11th to see the waning crescent making a nice pass to
the right of
Venus, the two forming a triangle with the star Spica below it. The following
morning, the very thin crescent will appear to the right of
Saturn, which is beginning to make the scene. Then the early
evenings of Thursday the 15th and Friday the 16th, the waxing Moon
Mars, on Thursday appearing a bit down and to the right of the
planet, while on Friday falling up and to the left of it. On
Wednesday the 14th, the Moon will pass perigee, when it
will be closest to Earth, the combination with a nearly new Moon
making for especially high and low tides at the coasts.
Mars still sets half an hour past the end of formal twilight and is
obviously hard to see. Turn your eyes then to the east to watch
Jupiter rising in central Taurus
just before evening's final light is gone. Early on dominating the
eastern sky, the giant planet crosses the meridian high to the south one to two
hours after midnight. Look next for the rising of brilliant Venus
shortly before or near 4 AM, the planet well up by the time the sky
lightens. By the end of our period, Saturn is rising at the start
of dawn, while Neptune ends its
retrograde motion on Sunday the 11th. If lucky, you might
catch a meteor or two from the Taurid meteoroid streams.
Look to the south about halfway up into the early evening sky to
see two prominent asterisms, the roundish Circlet of Pisces
and, to the west of it, the "Y"-shaped Water Jar of Aquarius,
whose center lies practically on the celestial equator.