Photo of the Week.Mars (near the
lower left corner), as it appeared to the left (southeast) of the
Beehive Cluster in Cancer the morning of October 3, 2011.
Gemini's Pollux and Castor are at right center, Pollux on
top. To see how fast Mars moves, compare its position with where
it was on September 12.
Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, November 4, 2011.
Daylight Savings Time ends this year on Sunday, November 6. Times
given below are Standard, one hour behind Daylight.
Our Moon spends most all of this week in its waxing gibbous phase until it hits full on Thursday, November 10, during the
day with the Moon out of sight for North Americans. The night of
Wednesday the 9th, the Moon will therefore rise just a bit short of
full, while the following evening, it will be just past it and
technically in the waning gibbous,
though it will be impossible to tell the difference. The waxing
gibbous will make a nice pass by Jupiter this week, appearing to the northwest of the
planet the evening of Tuesday the 8th, then, while flipping to the
other side, to the northeast of it the night of Wednesday the 9th.
At the same time, on Tuesday the 8th, the Moon will be going
through its apogee, where it
is farthest from Earth, the effect again not noticeable to the eye.
Earlier in the week, the night of Sunday the 6th, the Moon glides
six degrees north of
The planetary sky remains dominated by Jupiter and
Mars. The giant of the Solar System, rising just before
sunset, is now well up in the east by the end of twilight, while
reddish Mars rises around midnight about an hour after Jupiter
crosses the meridian to the south.
Mars, approaching Regulus in Leo for some time now, provides a
special sight by making a close pass just 1.4 degrees to the north
of the star the night of Wednesday the 9th (take a look the morning
of Thursday the 10th). Wait long enough (or get up early enough) and you
Saturn rising near fainter Spica just before 5 AM in advance of
Jupiter will not rule the skies for long, not with
Venus separating more from the Sun. The
planet is still a rather difficult find in southwestern evening
twilight, but wait 'till you see it in December. The planet is in
conjunction with (a few degrees north of) Antares of Scorpius on Wednesday the 9th, while Mercury (below Venus and near impossible to see) gets the
same treatment just a few hours later.
This week is prime time for the two branches (North and South) of
Taurid meteor shower. Related to short-period and faint Comet Encke, the
two meteor streams (which appear to emanate from Taurus) peak in early November,
each providing a few meteors per hour, most of which will be lost
To the southeast of Jupiter, find the ragged circle that makes the
head of Cetus, the Whale or Sea
Monster. The rest of the constellation spreads out to the
southwest beneath Pisces (the Zodiacal Fishes), the Whale's tail
marked by bright Deneb
Kaitos, which is pointed downward to by the eastern side of the
Great Square of Pegasus.