Date: November 2nd, 2012
Title: Observing With Webb in November 2012
Podcaster: Rob Webb
Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School
Description: This podcast discusses the events, planets, and constellations that can be seen in the night sky during the month of November and prepare yourself for Leonid meteorshower.
Bio: Rob Webb is a physics, astronomy, and sustainability teacher at Pequea Valley High School in Pennsylvania. His passions include teaching, astronomy, astrophotography, planetariums, running, reading, and golf. A proud graduate of Dickinson College in 2005, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Penn State University after conducting research in regards to the current state of planetariums in Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s Sponsor: This episode of 365 days of Astronomy is sponsored by iTelescope.net – Expanding your horizons in astronomy today. The premier on-demand telescope network, at dark sky sites in Spain, New Mexico and Siding Spring, Australia.
Now on to the sky for the month of November. We’ve got the Leonid meteor shower (weak, but probably worth a look), some good lunar encounters, a planetary close encounter, and some eclipses that I want to warn you to not worry about.
1st – Close Encounter – Jupiter & Moon – Starting around 8:30pm, look for the gibbous Moon in the East. Just about 1˚ above it will be bright Jupiter. These two will rise throughout the night, and still be visible in the West around sunrise.
4th – Daylight Savings Time Ends – 2am for most of North America
Last Quarter Moon – 7th (Visible from midnight into the morning)
11th – Close Encounter – Venus & Moon – Get up before sunrise, look SE, and you’ll see bright Venus about 5˚ to the left of the thin crescent Moon.
12th – Close Encounter – Saturn & Moon – Get up before sunrise, look SE, and if you have a good view of the horizon (and maybe binoculars would help) Saturn will be about 5˚ to the left of the even thinner crescent Moon.
New Moon – 13th (darkest skies)
13th-14th – Total Solar Eclipse – but you’ll only see it if you’re in north Australia or the South Pacific
15th-16th – Close Encounter – Moon & Mars – On the 15th, look SW after sunset (around 5pm) and find the very thin waxing crescent Moon low on the horizon. About 7˚ to the left will be Mars. The next night the Moon will be on the opposite side of Mars.
17th – Leonid Meteor Shower – The peak will produce about 20 meteors per hour under dark skies starting the night of the 17th into the morning of the 18th. Luckily the Moon will not be out for this one, so you have a good shot of seeing at least a couple. If you’ve got patience, go out in the morning and look toward Leo, but keeping an open eye for the whole sky.
Some advice for watching:
Find a dark location, lie down in a reclining chair or swimming pool floaty
Look toward Leo (in the East/SE). That is where the radiant is – where the meteors will appear to be coming from. Keep a wide eye and try to take in the whole sky, instead of staring at one spot or through binoculars or a telescope. If you can’t find Leo, just look “up”.
Dress in multiple layers and bring hot chocolate
Check the weather to see if the skies will be clear (weather.com has a good map here)
Adapt your eyes to the dark by staying away from light sources or using a red light if you need to look at a star chart or not trip over something.
First Quarter Moon – 20th (Visible until midnight)
26th, 27th – Close Encounter – Saturn & Venus – Look SE on the mornings of the 26th and 27th and you’ll see Venus and Saturn less than 1˚ apart. If you’re REALLY good, you’ll find Mercury down and to their left.
28th – Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – These eclipses are not exciting, since they barely dim the Moon. Not really worth the effort of going out to see it, although you will see some stars that night anyway.
28th – Close Encounter – Moon & Jupiter 2 – Jupiter will be about 1˚ up and to the left of the Full Moon. Just find the Moon, and you’ll find Jupiter right there.
Full Moon – 28th (Visible all night – East around sunset, West around Sunrise)
PLANETS…well, the ones visible with your naked eye
Planets you can see around Sunset – Mars (SW)
Planets you can see throughout the night – Jupiter (E to S to W)
Planets you can see in the Morning – Jupiter (W), Venus (E), Saturn (ESE)
Mercury – Might be visible at the end of the month, if you’re good.
VENUS – A high morning “star” this month. The brightest object in the morning East, will be lowest at 4:30am, rising up to about 30˚ by daybreak. Closest to the Moon on the 11th.
Mars – In the SW after sunset, and sets around 6:40pm. Look for the reddish-hued object only no more than 10˚ above the horizon. Very close to the Moon on the 15th and 16th.
JUPITER – Rises in the East after 6:30pm and visible until sunrise, when it’s low in the W. Close to the Moon on the 1st and 28th. Use binoculars or a telescope to try to see the four Galilean Moons. If you’re looking at Orion and Taurus in the morning, Jupiter’s the very bright one above Taurus.
Saturn – Just barely visible between Venus and the ESE horizon in the mornings. Gets higher and closer to Venus every day and passes Venus on the 26th and 27th.
CONSTELLATIONS… (see sky map link at the bottom for a Star Map for this month – or ask Mr. Webb) Look straight up and you’ll see…
After Sunset (sunset is around 5:00pm after Nov. 4th) – Lacerta, Pegasus (the Great Square)
Between Sunset and Midnight – Pegasus, Andromeda – Extra Challenge! Using your naked eye (dark-adapted and in a dark area) or binoculars under normal conditions and a star chart, try finding our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy. It’ll be a faint, but bigger, fuzzy in the constellation Andromeda.
Midnight – Perseus, Taurus
Early Morning – Lynx, Cancer, Gemini – Extra Challenge! Using binoculars, find the bright and open cluster M35. Find Gemini, look at the rightmost leg, go down to the foot, and move 2-3 degrees to the right (W).
GENERAL CONSTELLATION FINDING TIPS:
Summer Constellations: Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Delphinus
Look to the West after sunset until about 9pm and you’ll still be able to see Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, (and Delphinus.) These three constellations have the three brightest stars of the summer constellations (Vega, Deneb, Altair – respectively.) Those bright stars create the summer triangle. Being summer constellations and it being fall right now, they are setting and are visible for a shorter period of time. If you’re under dark skies (away from city lights) you may just catch a glimpse of the Milky Way passing through Cygnus and Aquila.
Fall Constellations: Andromeda, Pegasus
If you can find the Summer Triangle and Delphinus, about 40˚ to the East (leftish) will be the Great Square of the fall constellation Pegasus. Perhaps you’ll even see the two curves of Andromeda off of one side, with the Andromeda Galaxy as a small, faint fuzzy nearby (you’ll need dark skies to see it). A sky map will help you tremendously in finding these. You’ll see these in the East after sunset, straight above you around midnight, and in the West in the morning.
Use a sky map from www.skymaps.com to help you out.
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
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