Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Stargazing

The bright, beautiful constellations of winter creep into prime viewing time during the longer, cooler nights of November.
Beautiful Orion rises in mid-evening early in the month, but by early evening at month's end. Taurus, the bull, charges into view ahead of Orion, with Gemini, the twins, rising to the north of Orion. The Dog Star Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, follows the hunter in late evening. Venus, the "morning star," disappears in the dawn glare by month's end, but Mars is growing brighter as we head toward winter.

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November 2-8: The queen of the stars. Cassiopeia, the queen, soars high overhead on autumn evenings. We'll talk about the constellation's history, and about some of its powerful stars -- two that exploded, and another that will explode.

November 9-15: Lunar lineup. The Moon swings past some bright company in the morning sky this week -- the planets Venus and Saturn, plus a star that's usually associated with warmer weather. Join us for this impressive lineup, plus much more.

November 16-22: Moon and beyond. Apollo 12 made a pinpoint landing on the Moon's Ocean of Storms 40 years ago this week, and we'll have details. And we'll also talk about a mission that was looking back to the beginning of the universe.

November 23-29: The triangle. A tiny triangle climbs the eastern sky on these late November evenings. It's home to a star that's a lot like the Sun, and a galaxy that's like a miniature version of our own.

November 30: Doomed planet. A recently discovered planet in a distant star system doesn't have a happy fate. The gravity of its parent star will rip the planet to shreds. Join us for details on this and much more.

November Program Schedule:

In the November/December issue of StarDate, learn about space-based astronomy after Hubble Space Telescope. We'll also bring you a details on how astronomers are searching for supermassive black holes kicked out of galaxies after a galactic merger.

Boston University Astronomers Detect Sodium Gas Ejected by Lunar Impact

Boston University astronomers announced October 9 that observations taken with their telescope at McDonald Observatory detected of a cloud of sodium gas ejected from the Moon's surface as a result of the NASA impact experiment that was part of its Lunar CRater Observation Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission.Find out more:

Texas A&M University astronomer Dr. Lucas Macri will give the final presentation in McDonald Observatory's year-long, state-wide speakers series celebrating the International Year of Astronomy. Macri will speak November 15 in Brownsville, Texas, on "Exploding Stars in an Accelerating Universe" at 7 p.m. on The University of Texas at Brownsville campus.

For more information:

Do you know a science teacher who’s interested in astronomy? McDonald Observatory is offering several teacher professional development workshops next summer. Teachers get to spend several days at the observatory doing inquiry-based activities aligned with state and national science standards while partnering with trained and nationally recognized astronomy educators. They will also tour the research telescopes, practice their new astronomy skills under dark West Texas skies, and interact with professional astronomers, all while earning CPE hours. Scholarships are available for most of the workshops.

At the 2009 Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST) meeting in Galveston November 4-7, McDonald Observatory will host several teacher workshops, hand out materials, and have daily prize drawings at our exhibit hall booth. Come see us at booth number 1420! We'll be giving away Galileoscsopes to teachers during our daily raffles — Friday morning, Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning!

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SkyTips is a monthly email newsletter for visitors to McDonald Observatory and StarDate Online. Each issue features stargazing highlights, upcoming StarDate radio program descriptions, and other news. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and family.

SkyTips is a publication of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory Education and Outreach Office, 1 University Station A2100, Austin, TX 78712. Reproduction of SkyTips content is permitted with proper credit given to McDonald Observatory.

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