Skylights featured five times on Earth Science
Picture of the Day: 1
Photo of the Week. Looking upward from 30,000 feet,
a feathery cloud highlights a deep blue sky.
Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, November 25, 2005.
Our lonely Moon (though
we've looked for others, none has ever been found) spends most of
the week in a waning crescent
phase, then finally passes through new on Thursday, December 1,
bringing the ancient
cycle and the week to a close.
Rising around 4:30 AM, Jupiter has now nicely cleared twilight.
Smack on the boundary between Virgo and Libra, the
planet is now well to the east of Spica. The morning of Monday,
November 28th, finds the waning crescent between the two (but
closer to Spica), while the following morning the thinning crescent
will be to the south of the giant planet. Try to spot the very slim crescent near the eastern
horizon in twilight the morning of Wednesday the 30th. Perhaps you
can also spot Mercury, which
will then be up and to the left of the Moon.
The evening hours now feature a trio of ancient planets.
Venus, far to the southwest as the sky darkens, tops the list,
shining so brightly that in a fully dark location it will cast
shadows. As November turns to December, this second planet out
from the Sun sets
as late -- around 7:30 PM -- as it is going to during this
particular apparition. It will keep brightening until December 9,
and will then rather quickly disappear from the evening sky. More
or less in the opposite direction, to the east, find very bright Mars, which now graces southern Aries to the west of Taurus. The red planet transits the meridian to the
south around 10 PM, just half an hour after Saturn (in Cancer) rises, while the ringed planet
transits to the south about as Jupiter rises (4:30 AM) and Mars
Several birds flock the mythical sky. Chief among them are the
northern hemisphere's Cygnus the
Swan -- seen far to the northwest in early evening -- and Aquila the Eagle. The southern
hemisphere is a better aviary, with ancient Corvus (the Crow or Raven), to which are added the
modern figures of Apus (the Bird of Paradise), Columba (the Dove), Grus (the Crane), Pavo
(the Peacock), Phoenix (the
mythical Firebird), and Tucana (the
Toucan), Apus, Pavo and Tucana all circumpolar from mid-southern-hemisphere