November 2019

by Bobby

01 Nov 2018 : 00:12


The Night Skies of November(Image: The Perseus Double Cluster)

All the constellations named after characters in the story of Perseus and Andromeda are on view this month - Perseus and Andromeda themselves, Cassiopeia and Cepheus, her parents, and Cetus, the sea monster from which she was saved by Perseus. In northern latitudes, daylight savings time is at an end.

A spectacular conjunction of Venus and Jupiter will be visible in the evening sky on Nov 13. The two bright planets will be extremely close, appearing only 0.3 degrees apart. Look for this impressive pairing in the Eastern sky just before sunrise.


by Bobby

01 Nov 2018 : 00:15


The Charioteer

Auriga represents the driver of a horse-drawn chariot. According to one myth, he is Erichthonius, a legendary king of Athens. However, there is no explanation in mythology for his depiction in the sky with a goat and its kids on his left arm. The goat is marked by the constellation's brightest star, Capella (a latin name, meaning She-Goat), while the kids (also known as Haedi, another Latin name) are depicted by Zeta and Eta Aurigae. In Greek and Roman times, the figure's right foot was represented by a star now assigned to Taurus, Beta Tauri.

Points of Interest

Alpha Aurigae (Capella)
  The sixth brightest star in the sky, at magnitude 0.1. To the naked eye, it appears yellowish. It is, in fact, a spectroscopic binary, consisting of two yellow-colored giants that orbit each other every 104 days. It lies 42 light-years away.

Epsilon Aurigae
  One of the most extraordinary variable stars in the sky. It is an eclipsing binary, consisting of a brilliant white supergiant orbited by an odd dark companion that passes in front of it every 27 years, the longest known period between eclipses of any variable star. The star's brightness is more than halved by the eclipse, from magnitide 2.9 to 3.8, and it remains dimmed for over a year. From their observations of the last eclipse, which lasted from 2009 into 2011, astronomers have concluded that the mystery partner is a hot, blue star obscured from view by a large disk of dark dust and gas seen almost edge-on.

Zeta Aurigae
  An eclipsing binary, consisting of an orange giant orbited every 2.7 years by a smaller blue star. During an eclipse, which lasts 40 days, the star's brightness drops from magnitude 3.7 to 4.0.

M36, M37, and M38
Just visible with the naked eye and easy to see with binoculars, these three open clusters lie 4,000-4,500 light-years away. In a binocular field of 6 degrees or more, all three can be seen as misty patches. The smallest of the trio, M36, is the easiest to spot, a small telescope resolving its brightest stars. M37, the largest of the clusters at about two-thirds the width of the full Moon, contains more stars but they are fainter. M38 is the most scattered cluster; a small telescope reveals that many of its stars form chains.


by Bobby

01 Nov 2018 : 00:15


The Two Fishes

Pisces is a constellation of the zodiac, lying between Aquarius and Aries, and depicts two fishes whose tails are each tied with cord. The star Alpha Piscium marks a knot that joins the two cords. The constellation originated among the Babylonians of the Middle East, from whom it was inherited by the ancient Greeks. In one Greek myth, the fish represented Aphrodite and her son Eros, who plunged into the Euphrates to escape Typhon, a multiheaded monster. The Sun lies in Pisces from March 12th to April 18th and hence is in the constellation at the March Equinox.

Points of Interest

The Circlet
  A ring of 7 stars of 4th and 5th magnitudes, south of the Great Square of Pegasus, that represents the body of the more southerly of the two fish. It consist of Gamma, Kappa, Lambda, TX, Iota, Theta, and 7 Piscium.

Alpha Piscium
  A binary star. A telescope with an aperture of 3 in (75 mm) or more is needed to separate the close blue-white components of magnitude 4.2 and 5.2. The two stars, which lie 140 light-years away, have an orbital period of nearly 1,000 years and are currently moving closer together as seen from Earth.

Zeta Piscium
 A wide double star.. The unrelated components of magnitudes 5.2 and 6.4 lie 150 and 195 light years away. They can be divided with a small telescope.

Ps-1 Piscium
 A wide double star with components of magnitudes of 5.3 and 5.5 that can be separated with a small telescope. Both stars lie about 230 light years away.

TX Piscium (19 Piscium)
 A variable red giant that ranges from about magnitude 4.8 to 5.2 with no set period.

 A spiral galaxy visible through a small telescope as a rounded misty patch.

Meteor Showers

by Bobby

01 Nov 2018 : 00:14


The Taurids and Leonids

The Taurids
Starting in late October and continuing for a month or more, the Taurids reach a sustained peak in the first week of November. Activity is no more than 10 an hour, from just south of the Pleiades, but Taurid meteors are striking because they move slowly and are often bright.

The Leonids
This shower radiates from the head of Leo around November 17th. Activity is normally about 10 an hour at best, but it can surge sharply at 33-year intervals when the parent comet, Tempel- Tuttle, returns to the Sun. A Leonid storm occurred in 1996, and there were high rates of activity from 1999 to 2002.

November Features

by Bobby

01 Nov 2018 : 00:14
 Galaxy    November


The Large Magellanic Cloud

Lying mostly in Dorado, this is the larger, brighter, and closer of two small galaxies that accompany our own. It appears to be as a long, hazy patch like a detached part of the Milky Way, while binoculars show a host of star clusters and nebula.

The LMC is classified as a Magellanic spiral. It contains a stellar bar that is geometrically off-center, suggesting that it was a barred dwarf spiral galaxy before its spiral arms were disrupted, likely by tidal interactions from the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), and the Milky Way's gravity.The LMC's present irregular appearance is likely the result of repeated tidal interactions with the SMC primarily, as well as the Milky Way's tidal field.

Tarantula Nebula

by Bobby

01 Nov 2018 : 00:12
 Nebula    November


Diffuse Nebula

The most prominent object in the Large Magellanic Cloud is a diffuse nebula visible to the naked eye and through binoculars. It is popularly known as the Tarantula Nebula because of its spidery shape, which is particularly noticeable on photographs. It is about 50 times larger than the famous Orion Nebula(M42) in our own Galaxy.

The Tarantula Nebula was observed by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille during an expedition to the Cape of Good Hope between 1751 and 1753. He catalogued it as the second of the "Nebulae of the First Class", "Nebulosities not accompanied by any star visible in the telescope of two feet". It was described as a diffuse nebula 20' across.