Tuesday 19 September 2017 - 23:04:59 Posted by  Bobby

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 The Night Skies of November

 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.

 Top 2 Constellations For November

 Auriga (The Charioteer)


 Mythology of Auriga

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.

 The Facts

  • Depiction: The Charioteer
  • Pronounced: or-RYE-gah
  • Genitive: Aurigae
  • Abbreviation: Aur
  • Highest in the Sky: December to February
  • Size Ranking: 21st
  • Coverage Area: 657 Sq. Degrees
  • Right Acension: 6 Hours
  • Declination: 40
  • Visibility: 90°N to 31°S

 Notable Objects/Stars

  • Alpha Aurigae: Four star system
  • Epsilon Aurigae: Binary star
  • Zeta Aurigae: Binary star
  • M36, M37, and M38: Open clusters
  • Ngc 1893: Open cluster
  • IC 410: Emission nebula

 Named Stars

  • Capella, Alpha Aurigae
  • Menkalinan, Beta Aurigae
  • Almaaz, Epsilon Aurigae
  • Hoedus I, Zeta Aurigae
  • Hoedus II, Eta Aurigae
  • Hassaleh, Iota Aurigae

 Best Viewed Objects/Stars

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.

 Aries (The Ram/ Lamb)


 Mythology of Aries

Aries depicts the ram with the golden fleece, famous from Greek mythology. Its only noticeable feature is a line of three stars: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Arietis. It is a constellation of the Zodiac, the Sun passing through it from April 18th to May 14th. Aries lies between Pisces and Taurus.

 The Facts

  • Depiction: The Ram
  • Pronounced: AIR-eez
  • Genitive: Arietis
  • Abbreviation: Ari
  • Highest in the Sky: November to December
  • Size Ranking: 39th
  • Coverage Area: 441 Sq. Degrees
  • Right Acension: 3 Hours
  • Declination: 20°
  • Visibility: 90°N to 62°S

 Notable Objects/Stars

  • Alpha Arietis: Star
  • Beta Arietis: Star
  • Gamma Arietis: Star
  • NGC 691: Group of Spiral Galaxies
  • NGC 772: Spiral Galaxy

 Named Stars

  • Hamal, Alpha Arietis
  • Sharatan, Beta Arietis
  • Mesarthim, Gamma Arietis
  • Botein, Delta Arietis

 Best Viewed Objects/Stars

Gamma Arietis

 A wide double star, easily divided with a small telescope. The two stars are nearly identical, both being blue-white and of magnitude 4.6. Found by the English scientist Robert Hooke in 1644, when telescopes were still quite crude, this was one of the first double stars to be discovered.

 Features of Interest (October/November)

 Tarantula 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 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.

 Meteor Shower Activity

November Meteor Showers
(The Taurids & 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.

 Also Visible This Month

 Where to?

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