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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Mon. Nov. 2 - Early this morning and tomorrow morning brilliant Venus will pass close to ruddy Mars in the pre-dawn sky. The two planets will appear half again the width of the Moon from each other.

Mon. Nov. 2 - The coming week will continue to offer the opportunity to view the Zodiacal Light, a delicate glowing triangle of light extending up from the horizon about an hour before sunrise. The phenomenon is caused by the Sun illuminating the disk of dust left over from planet formation in the solar system's equatorial plane.

Tues. Nov. 3 - Don't be surprised if you hear reports of the occasional bright fireball this month. If you are lucky enough to see one yourself, it is likely to be a member of the Taurid meteor shower which is active through most of the month. While the Taurids are few and far between, perhaps about a dozen an hour, it does include larger dust grains which produce dramatic fireballs emanating from the vicinity of the Hyades and Pleiades in Taurus.

Tues. Nov. 3 – This is last quarter Moon night heralding the start of the dark Moon period for deep sky observing, imaging and sketching.

Sat. Nov 7 – For those who still have a minimum of Algol the Devil Star on their list, tonight provides an ideal opportunity. The two hour maximum dip in brightness will occur from 6.32pm PST to 8.32pm. The onset and recessional periods are gradual, so you might compare its brightness with neighbouring stars in Perseus again late in the evening to see the difference.

Sat. Nov. 7 – This morning the waning crescent Moon will appear only four moon widths from brilliant Venus to create a triangle with Mars. Jupiter looks on from above them.

Wed. Nov. 11 – This is New Moon night with the total absence of our neighbour leaving the field open for deep sky adventures.

Thurs. Nov. 12 – The fingernail paring crescent Moon will pose in the evening sky about the width of two fingers north of Saturn which is moving ever lower toward the western horizon.

Tues. Nov. 17 - The annual Leonid meteor shower will peak after midnight tonight. The Leonids are known as being among the fastest meteors, hitting the Earth's atmosphere head on from a radiant point in Leo, in the eastern morning sky. The Leonids are not a strong meteor shower with perhaps only around 12 streaks per hour at maximum.

Thurs. Nov. 19 – This is First Quarter Moon night with the brilliant half slice of orange checking out the approach of winter in the evening sky.

Fri. Nov. 20 – If you happen to view Mars in the early morning sky, you might want to know that our outer neighbour is at aphelion, the farthest point in its orbit from the Sun and us.

Fri/Sat. Nov. 20, 21 – Thanks to Alan Whitman for the heads up on a very exciting meteor shower opportunity after midnight on Friday. The Alpha Monocerotids is a unique shower that peaks every 10 years. This is one of those occasions. The http://meteorshowersonline.com/showers/alpha_monocerotids.html
website notes: “Perhaps 100 meteors per hour may return every 10 years on the indicated date of maximum."  The radiant will be well placed in Monocerous which is located between Canis Minor and Orion.

Mon. Nov. 23 – The waxing gibbous Moon is at the perigee point in its orbit tonight. This will mean another larger than average Moon since the Full Moon is only two days away.

Wed. Nov. 25 – This is Full Moon night as our satellite goes through a trial run for its big Christmas performance next month.

Tues. Nov. 24 – It seems as if it’s been a long wait for another bright comet following the fun with Comet Lovejoy at the beginning of the year. The wait ends about now as Comet US10 Catalina surges into the northern sky after its perihelion passage around the Sun on November 15.  Catalina will climb into the pre-dawn sky from Libra and it will brush by Arcturus in Bootes on New Year’s night. A Sky & Telescope chart can be found at http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/bright-comet-prospects-2015012815/.

Wed. Nov. 25 - Late tonight you can watch the near full Moon in the heart of the Hyades open star cluster. It will overtake and then occult the bright star Aldebaran in Taurus once again. You can watch the action take place between 11pm and 1am.

Sat. Nov. 28 – Bright Spica in Virgo will have Venus for company through into the first days of December. They will appear less than the width of three middle fingers apart.