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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November stargazing

If Trump actually wins the presidency, all bets are off. 

Leonid meteor shower

The stars appear to fall from the sky during the Leonid meteor shower of 1833, as depicted in this contemporary illustration. Tens of thousands of meteors shot across the sky in just a few hours. This year's shower on the night of Nov. 16, however, should be tame, with a few dozen meteors per hour.

Stargazing Summary 
Taurus, the bull, charges across the sky on November nights, standing high overhead around midnight. Look for his V-shaped face, highlighted by the orange star Aldebaran, and his twinkling shoulder, the tiny dipper-shaped Pleiades star cluster. Orion charges into the evening sky as well, rising in early evening by month's end. Finally, the Moon stages encounters with four of the five planets that are easily visible to the unaided eye.

Radio Program Highlights
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November 1-6: Canyons and gullies. Spacecraft have photographed gullies on Mars and canyons on one of the moons of Saturn. Both were carved by something flowing along the surface — but it wasn't water. Join us for this and much more.

November 7-13: Neighbors. Astronomers are scanning the skies for evidence of cosmic neighbors. They're also thinking about how to talk to the neighbors, and how to visit them quickly. Join us for neighbor civilizations and more.

November 14-20: The Seven Sisters. The Pleiades star cluster, known as the Seven Sisters, climbs high across the sky on November nights, and we'll have details. We'll also tell you why the cluster is doomed, and why it's part of an astronomical coincidence.

November 21-27: Gas station. For an interplanetary spacecraft, Jupiter is a giant gas station, and we'll explain why. We'll also talk about some watery plumes on one of Jupiter's moons. Join us for Jupiter, plus an astronomical link to Harry Potter and more.

November 28-30: Cosmic rays. Particles from far beyond our solar system are constantly pelting Earth. They can affect our planet's climate, and they're a major environmental source of radiation. Join us for cosmic rays and much more.

Program schedule »

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This Month in StarDate Magazine
In our current issue, see how an eclipse influenced a presidential election more than a century ago. You can also get up to date on Eta Carinae, a closely studied star that could explode as a supernova.

About SkyTips
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, 2609 University Ave. A2100, Austin, TX 78712. Reproduction of SkyTips content is permitted with proper credit given to McDonald Observatory.

And from Earth/Sky

Two of the five bright planets rise to great prominence this month, Venus and Jupiter, and they almost seem to balance two sides of our sky. Venus, the brightest planet, blazes in the west first thing at dusk. Jupiter, second-brightest, lords over the east before dawn. Two other planets, Saturn and Mars, join Venus at nightfall in early November. Although Venus and Mars remain evening objects throughout November, Saturn drops into the glare of sunset later this month. The most elusive bright planet – Mercury – might become visible at dusk toward the end of the month. Day by day, Mercury climbs upward from the setting sun as Saturn sinks sunward. These two worlds – Saturn and Mercury – will meet for a hard-to-see conjunction in the evening sky on November 23. Follow the links below to learn more about planets in November 2016.

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