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Tuesday, November 03, 2009


The Sky This Week - Thursday November 5 to Thursday November 12

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday November 10. Jupiter is is easily seen as the brightest object in the evening sky. In the morning, Mars is easily seen above the eastern horizon and is near the Beehive cluster. On Monday 9 November Mars and the Moon are close. Saturn is close to the dawn horizon. The variable star Mira is at maximum and Algol is at minimum.

Morning sky looking north-east showing the Moon and Mars near the Beehive cluster at 4:00 am local daylight saving time (3:00 am non-daylight saving) on Monday November 9. Click to embiggen.

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday November 10.

In the morning, Mars is readily visible in the eastern sky. Red Mars is in the constellation of Cancer and starts the week near the Beehive cluster. This will be readily visible to the unaided eye under dark skies, and will look quite nice in binoculars. On Monday November 9 the waning Moon is close to Mars, with the Beehive in between.

Saturn is low in the morning sky this week.

Bright white Venus is invisible the twilight glow and will not reappear until February.

Western horizon showing Jupiter at 11:00 pm local daylight saving time (10:00 pm non-daylight saving) on Thursday November 5, click to embiggen.

Jupiter is easily seen as the brightest object in the evening sky. Jupiter is big enough to be appreciated in even the smallest telescope. If you don't have a telescope to view Jupiter, why not go to one of your local Astronomical Societies or Planetariums open nights? Jupiter's Moons are readily visible in binoculars or a small telescope.

Mercury is currently not visible.

Left, the eastern horizon at around 10:00 am AEDST showing the location of Mira, Right the Northern horizon at 11:00 pm AEDST on November 5 showing the location of Algol.

Mira (omicron ceti), a star in the constellation of Cetus the whale, is a long period pulsating red giant and changes brightness from below naked eye visibility to a peak of round magnitude 2 (roughly as bright as beta Crucis in the Southern Cross) in around 330 days. Mira peaks in brightness in November around November 10. It may be seen above the eastern horizon around 10 pm local daylight saving time above a loop of stars just above Taurus (see above, Mira is not shown as the plotting software only shows the minimum).

Algol is another classic variable star, but is usually hard to see from the southern hemisphere. This week we have a chance to see Algol dim and brighten under reasonable circumstances. On November 5th at 11 pm AEDST Algol will be at its dimmest (barely visible, unlike the diagram which shows it at maximum), over the next few hours you can watch it brighten.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm ADST, Western sky at 10 pm ADST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch. Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.


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