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Sky Happenings November 2007
Moab UT (at City Hall)
38O34’ N Latitude 109O33’ W Longitude
4048 ft - 1234 m
The Sky for November 2007
By Faylene Roth


DAYLIGHT
Mountain Standard Time resumes on November 4. Set clocks back one hour. Sunrise and sunset times are calculated for a flat horizon. Actual times may vary depending upon the surrounding landscape. Dawn occurs in three stages. Civil twilight provides adequate light for movement and begins about one-half hour before sunrise. Nautical twilight reveals shapes but not detail and begins approximately one hour before sunrise. Astronomical twilight illuminates the sky with a faint glow. It occurs about one and one-half hours before sunrise. The same progression applies to dusk.

MOON HAPPENINGS
November begins with a waning third quarter moon. New Moon occurs at 4:04pm on November 9. Full Moon occurs on November 24 two minutes after the moon sets at 7:28am. The moon rendezvous with most of the planets this month. On November 3 at 6:00am a waning crescent moon is located about a finger’s width south of Saturn. On November 5 at the same time look for the moon about two finger widths south of Venus On November 7-8 at 6:30am a very thin crescent moon passes below Mercury, about the width of a fist. On November 12 a waxing crescent moon appears in the early evening sky to the west, about three finger widths south of Jupiter. On November 17, the first quarter moon sits at the eastern corner of Capricornus near Neptune. On November 18 the moon reaches Aquarius with the blue-green planet Uranus at its eastern edge. On November 26 at 9:00pm the moon is less than a finger’s width from Mars in the eastern sky. On November 30 the third quarter moon rejoins Saturn just before midnight in the eastern sky.

Meteor Showers
Two meteor showers from the vicinity of Taurus overlap in early November. The Southern Taurids peak on November 5 and the Northern Taurids on November 12. The Taurids, while not prolific, are known to produce bright, slow-moving meteors. An early setting moon will ensure dark skies for these early evening meteor showers. The Leonid Meteor Shower extends from November 10-23. Best viewing for this shower is after midnight, to the east, on November 18. Expect 10-15 meteors per hour. After the 18th, a waxing gibbous moon will interfere with viewing.

What Starlight Reveals

When astronomers pass starlight through a spectrometer, they can identify the elements in that star. The spectrometer separates light into a spectrum, just like a prism does. Each element produces a unique spectral pattern with dark absorption lines at specific wavelengths. The pattern of absorption lines serves as a fingerprint for each element. Most stars contain about 90% hydrogen and 10% helium with trace amounts of heavier elements. Hydrogen and helium were formed in the first few minutes after the Big Bang and later formed the first stars. Main-sequence stars, like the sun, continue to produce helium through nuclear fusion of hydrogen. Stars with greater mass than the sun are hot enough to fuse helium nuclei into heavier elements: carbon, oxygen, neon, magnesium, silicon, sulfur, argon, calcium, titanium, chromium, iron, and nickel. Heavier metals are produced when massive stars collapse in supernova explosions. Elements produced from these massive stars become part of the interstellar dust which may later condense into gas clouds that form new stars and planets. Supernovae, along with radioactive decay, are the source of the elements found on Earth.

VISIBLE PLANETS
Jupiter - sinks into the western sky earlier each night; by the end of the month, Jupiter sets, with Sagittarius, before the end of astronomical twilight.
Mars - look for a bright, red disk near Gemini around 10:00pm in early November; rises earlier each evening and will nearly double in brightness by the end of the month.
Mercury - at its most visible for the year during the first three weeks of November; look eastward in the early morning sky; on November 7-8 look for Mercury around 6:00am just above a very thin crescent moon; the nearby bright star is Spica in the constellation Virgo.
Saturn - rises before Venus and is fairly high in the early dawn sky throughout November; in Leo.
Venus - brightest object in the morning sky; between Saturn and Mercury; rises before 4:00am throughout November.

MAJOR CONSTELLATIONS OF NOVEMBER

Overhead
Andromeda
Aries
Pegasus
Pisces
Triangulum

Northward
Cassiopeia
Cepheus
Perseus
Ursa Major
Ursa Minor

Eastward
Gemini
Orion
Pleiades
Taurus

Southward
Capricornus
Cetus
Westward


Westward
Aquarius
Aquila
Cygnus
Lyra

Prominent in the November sky are the Summer
Triangle to the east, the Great Square of
Pegasus overhead, and the Pleiades star
cluster near Taurus to the west.

Hold the star chart high above your head
and match the compass directions to the
direction you are facing. Adjust the
star chart by orienting Ursa Major
(Big Dipper) to match its
position in the sky.


The star chart approximates the night sky from astronomical twilight to midnight. As the night and the month progress, the constellations will shift toward the northwest.
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