This will be the second time this year we get a chance to
observe a total eclipse of the moon. This is when the Earth casts
its shadow on the moon, turning our neighbor a beautiful copper
color. It won’t last very long; totality (full eclipse) is only 25
minutes long. When the moon rises, just as the sun sets Nov. 8, the
eclipse will already be underway. By 5:31 p.m. the total portion of
the eclipse will be completed, and by 7:05 p.m., the partial
eclipse will end. So make sure you don’t miss this one. A very
This will be the second time this year we get a chance to observe a total eclipse of the moon. This is when the Earth casts its shadow on the moon, turning our neighbor a beautiful copper color. It won’t last very long; totality (full eclipse) is only 25 minutes long. When the moon rises, just as the sun sets Nov. 8, the eclipse will already be underway. By 5:31 p.m. the total portion of the eclipse will be completed, and by 7:05 p.m., the partial eclipse will end. So make sure you don’t miss this one. A very interesting experience.
If you witnessed last May’s eclipse, see if you can compare the size of the moon then with what it is now. Six months ago, the Moon was at perigee, its closest point to the Earth. But now it is near apogee, its farthest distance. If you happened to have taken some pictures of each eclipse, you will definitely see the difference.
Mars is getting pretty small and very dim these days. It would take a very keen eye or a good size telescope to pick out any service features of our red neighbor now. But don’t worry, Mars will be back in a couple years – just not as glorious as it was this year.
As always, when we lose one planet another one always seems to take its place. Venus has just begun a seven-month evening trip that will peak next spring. At first you will need binoculars to spot it, but soon you will be able to see it with the naked eye.
If you like getting up just before dawn, you will be treated by two of the best sights in the heavens. Of course, that is Jupiter and Saturn. But if you are not the early riser then just wait, soon the both of them will be presenting themselves in the evening sky.
Be sure to watch out for the Leonid meteor showers on the evening of Nov. 17 and the morning of Nov. 18. They should start around 11 p.m. when the constellation Leo rises and then peak to about 20 to 30 meteors per hour just after midnight. Remember just a couple of years ago when the Leonid showers were something out of this world – probably one of the finest heavenly sights I have ever seen. This year’s show might not be as exiting, but nonetheless it should make for an interesting night out on the skies.
Have you ever seen a comet? Well, if you have or not, this month is your chance to see comet 2P/Encke through binoculars or a small telescope racing across the sky from northeast to west in a matter of one month. First starting out by the constellation Andromada, going through Cygnus and ending up at the end of December going through Aquila. Look on the Internet to find its path, or look in the Astronomy or Sky & Telescope magazines. If all else fails, give me a call and I will get it to you.
This is just the start of what will be an exciting comet season; for two more comets will be visible to the naked eye coming this spring. So who needs Mars? We have so much out there to look at this month and the upcoming year we won’t need it.
Winter will be here soon and the nights will be getting cooler, so don’t be caught without proper clothing. Go out there and see what you can see. And don’t forget to share it with someone. Clear skies.
October Sky Watch
Nov. 3 – Moon passes 3 degrees south of Mars
Nov. 8 – Full Moon
Nov. 8 – Lunar eclipse
Nov. 10 – Moon is farthest away from Earth (Apogee – 252,464 miles)
Nov. 13 – Moon passes 5 degrees north of Saturn
Nov. 16 – Comet 2P/Enche passes closest to Earth (24.2 million miles)
Nov. 16 – Last-quarter Moon
Nov. 17 – Leonid meteor shower peaks
Nov. 18 – Moon passes 4 degrees north of Jupiter
Nov. 23 – New Moon
Nov. 23 – Total Solar eclipse (Not in our area)
Nov. 23 – Moon is closest to Earth (Perigee-221,712 miles)
Nov. 24 – Moon passes 0.3 degrees south of Mercury
Nov. 25 – Moon passes 2 degrees south of Venus
Nov. 28 – Moon passes 5 degrees south of Neptune
Nov. 29 – Moon passes 5 degrees south of Uranus
Nov. 30 – First-quarter Moon