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SKY HAPPENINGS

Moab UT (at City Hall)
38O34’ N Latitude 109O33’ W Longitude
4048 ft - 1234 m

The Sky for November 2010
By Faylene Roth

 

1

7:45am

6:18pm

2

7:46am

6:17pm

3

7:47am

7:16pm

4

7:48am

6:15pm

5

7:49am

6:14pm

6

7:50am

6:13pm

7

6:51am

5:12pm

8

6:53am

5:11pm

9

6:54am

5:10pm

10

6:55am

5:09pm

11

6:56am

5:08pm

12

6:57am

5:07pm

13

6:58am

5:07pm

14

6:59am

5:06pm

15

7:00am

5:05pm

16

7:01am

5:04pm

17

7:02am

5:04pm

18

7:03am

5:03pm

19

7:05am

5:02pm

20

7:06am

5:02pm

21

7:07am

5:01pm

22

7:08am

5:01pm

23

7:09am

5:00pm

24

7:10am

5:00pm

25

7:11am

4:59pm

26

7:12am

4:59pm

27

7:13am

4:59pm

28

7:14am

4:58pm

29

7:15am

4:58pm

30

7:16am

4:58pm

Mountain Standard Time resumes on November 7. 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 and dusk extends the period of daylight. Civil twilight provides adequate light for most activity and extends daylight about one-half hour before/after sunrise. Nautical twilight reveals shapes and fading colors but loses detail and begins approximately one-half hour before/after civil twilight. Astronomical twilight illuminates the sky with a faint glow. It occurs about one-half hour before/after nautical twilight.

MOON HAPPENINGS
November 5– New Moon occurs at 10:52pm
November 13 – First Quarter Moon sets after midnight
November 21 – Full Moon rises at 4:56pm
November 28 – Last Quarter Moon rises around midnight
(The time of moonrise and moonset assumes a flat horizon. Actual time may vary.)

METEOR ACTIVITY
Two meteor showers radiate from Taurus during the first two weeks of November. The Southern Taurids peak November 5 on the night of the New Moon. The Northern Taurids peak November 12 with a waxing moon setting soon after midnight. While not prolific, the Taurids are known for bright, slow-moving meteors. Fireballs as bright as Venus (-4 magnitude) sometimes occur. The Leonid Meteor Shower peaks on November 17 just a few days before the Full Moon. Best time for viewing meteor activity is when the radiant constellation is overhead—usually between midnight and 4:00am.

MAGNITUDE OF THE STARS

Astronomers use the term magnitude to measure the brightness of stars. Absolute magnitude measures actual differences in size and intensity of a star’s light as if all stars were the same distance from Earth. Apparent magnitude, more useful to stargazers, ranks a star’s brightness based on what we actually see. A small star near Earth appears brighter than a large more distant star. The original magnitude scale had six ranks. The brightest stars were ranked 1st magnitude. Magnitude 1 stars are 2.5 times brighter than magnitude 2 stars; magnitude 2 stars 2.5 times brighter than magnitude 3 stars; etc. A magnitude 1 star is 100 times brighter than a magnitude 6 star, which is the faintest level that can be viewed without magnification. The current magnitude scale has been extended to -26.8 to accommodate the brightness of the sun and to +27 to accommodate the faintest objects seen with the largest telescopes. Some of the brighter stars like Rigel (Orion), Capella (Auriga), and Vega (Lyra) are now designated magnitude 0. Sirius, the brightest of all stars, is -1. (rises after midnight below Orion); Venus ranges from -3.9 to -4.7.

GREAT WORLDWIDE STAR COUNT
Join Red Rock Astronomers at Old City Park on Sunday, November 7, at 6:30pm for a tour of the night sky, telescope viewing, and the Great Worldwide Star Count. The Star Count is part of an international effort to raise awareness of the effect of light pollution on the night sky. It is sponsored by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Join us in this year’s star count as a citizen scientist. We will determine what magnitude of stars are detectable from Moab. Meet at the southwest corner of Old City Park below the bandstand and the duck pond. Bring a chair or blanket for comfortable viewing and dress warmly. Sponsored by WabiSabi. All ages are welcome. For information call 259-4743 or 259-3313.

Note: Hold your hand at arm’s length to measure apparent distances in the sky. The width of the little finger approximates 1.5 degrees. Middle, ring, and little finger touching represent about 5 degrees. The width of a fist is about 10 degrees. The fist with the thumb extended at a right angle equals 15 degrees. The hand stretched from thumb to little finger approximates 20-25 degrees. The diameter of both the full moon and the sun spans only 0.5 degree. Adjust for the size of your hand.

Primary Sources: USGS; U.S. Naval Observatory; Your Sky at http://www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/

VISIBLE PLANETS
Jupiter - This month Jupiter is high in the sky as evening twilight fades. Its brilliant yellow light dominates the night sky until after midnight. Look for it in Pisces, a faint constellation below the Great Square of Pegasus. On November 15 and 16 it moves across the sky with a waxing gibbous moon. (Magnitude -2.7)

Saturn - The ringed planet returns to view this month in the morning sky. It rises in Virgo a couple hours before Venus. By month’s end, it crests the eastern horizon around 3:00am. (Magnitude +0.4)

Venus - Brilliant Venus escapes the glare of the sun this month and returns to view (below Saturn) in the morning twilight. By the middle of November it should be easily visible on the eastern horizon about one hour before sunrise. By month’s end, it rises around 4:30am. (Magnitude -4.4)

Note: Apparent magnitude values range from -4 to +6 for most planets and visible stars. The lower the value the brighter the object. A decrease of 1.0 magnitude is 2.5 times brighter.

MAJOR CONSTELLATIONS this MONTH

Overhead
Andromeda
Aries
Pegasus
Pisces




Northward
Cassiopeia
Cepheus
Draco
Perseus
Ursa Major
Ursa Minor


Eastward
Auriga
Gemini
Orion
Taurus

Southward
Aquarius
Capricornus
Cetus





Westward
Aquila
Cygnus
Hercules
Lyra

Three seasonal signs highlight the evening sky: Summer Triangle (three brightest stars of Lyra, Cygnus, and Aquila) in the west; autumn’s Great Square (Pegasus) overhead; and the Pleiades star cluster (leading edge of winter’s constellations) in the east.

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 sky from astronomical twilight to midnight. As the night and month progresses, the constellations shift toward the northwest. The celestial equator is measured in hours (h).
The ecliptic is measured in degrees.

 

 
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