Skylights featured three times on Earth Science
Picture of the Day: 1
Photo of the Week.. The Moon approaches totality
during the eclipse of November 8, 2003. (The reddish color comes
from light scattered and refracted into the Earth's shadow by our
Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, November 14, 2003.
sails through the sky past its last quarter the night of Sunday,
November 16, the total eclipse of last Saturday but a memory.
Prepare now to go to Antarctica to see the related
eclipse of the Sun at the next new Moon (eclipses of the Moon
and Sun commonly taking place back to back) on Saturday the 23rd
(nothing whatever to be seen in North America). You can, however,
see the Moon to the northeast of giant
Jupiter the morning of Tuesday, the 18th, and to the northeast
of it the morning of Wednesday, the 19th, the waning crescent,
bright Jupiter, and the constellation Leo making a fine sight in the pre-dawn sky.
In the evening, keep an eye out for Venus
low in the southwest in twilight, the planet still a bit elusive.
Mars, however, is not, as
it continues to dominate the southern evening sky. Though the
Earth is steadily pulling away from Mars, the difference in orbital
speed between the two planets is not all that great, which will
allow the red planet to linger as an evening planet for the
remainder of the year and then some. Even by the turn of 2004,
Mars will not be setting until just after midnight. Moving inward
in the Solar System,
Mercury is invisibly in conjunction with Antares in Scorpius on Tuesday, the 18th. In the excitement of
eclipses and solar
Uranus's transition to moving from
retrograde to direct motion on Saturday the 8th was quite
overlooked. In between all this action lies Saturn, which now
rises at about the same time as Betelgeuse in Orion, around 8 PM, turning it into
a fine evening telescopic object. Even a small 40 power telescope
will show the rings, and at higher power they are magnificent,
accompanied by Saturn's easily-visible large Satellite, Titan
(number two in size in the planetary system after Jupiter's Ganymede).
If you have never seen the Great
Nebula in Andromeda, the
galaxy known also as
M 31, now is the time. If in moderate
northern latitudes, look nearly overhead around 9 PM for a modestly
bright, elliptical fuzzy patch that does not resolve into stars.
You are looking some two million light years away at a huge galaxy
comparable to our own, and the most distant thing you can see with
the naked eye. At the same time, of course, admire the graceful
sweeps of stars that commemorate the celestial princess Andromeda,
Queen Cassiopeia (her mythological
mother) to the north, Pegasus,
the winged horse with which she was rescued from Cetus (the Whale or Sea Monster) by
Perseus to the southwest. Perseus
himself rises in the northeast, holding the winking star (the
eclipsing double) Algol.