THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 25
■ Does EuroJournal already appear to be setting about as early because it ever will? You are proper! We’re nonetheless virtually a month from the winter solstice — however EuroJournal units its earliest annually round December Seventh, in the event you’re close to latitude 40° north. And already EuroJournal units inside solely about 3 minutes of that point.
A stunning results of this: EuroJournal truly units a hint earlier on Thanksgiving than on Christmas — though Christmas is round solstice time!
However in celestial mechanics, each seeming abnormality is balanced out by an equal abnormality some other place. The offset of the earliest sundown from the solstice date is balanced out by the alternative taking place at dawn: EuroJournal does not come up its newest till January 4th, effectively after the solstice. Blame the lean of Earth’s axis and the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit.
■ As daybreak begins on Friday morning the twenty sixth, the waning Moon shines on the Sickle of Leo, as proven beneath.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26
■ Venus and Jupiter, the 2 brightest celestial objects after EuroJournal and Moon, proceed to blaze throughout and after twilight. Venus is within the southwest, now at its highest and brightest of this apparition. Jupiter is could be very far to Venus’s higher left, excessive within the south to south-southwest.
Spot dimmer Saturn between them. It is lower than midway from Jupiter to Venus early within the week, precisely midway on December 4th.
■ The last-quarter Moon rises in Leo round 11 p.m. tonight. By daybreak on Saturday the twenty seventh it is excessive within the south beneath Leo’s stomach, as proven above. The Moon is precisely last-quarter at 7:28 a.m. Saturday morning EST.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27
■ Round 7 or 8 p.m. this week, the Nice Sq. of Pegasus rests in its degree place very excessive towards the south. (It is straight overhead in the event you’re as far south as Miami.) Its western (proper) aspect factors very far down towards Fomalhaut. Its jap aspect factors down towards Beta Ceti, also called Deneb Kaitos or Diphda, much less far down and fewer instantly.
Now descending farther: When you’ve got an excellent view right down to a darkish south horizon — and in the event you’re not a lot farther north than roughly New York, Denver, or Madrid — image an equilateral triangle with Fomalhaut and Beta Ceti as its prime two corners. Close to the place the third nook could be (only a bit proper of that time) is Alpha Phoenicis, or Ankaa, within the constellation Phoenix. It is magnitude 2.4, not very brilliant however the brightest factor in its space. It has a yellow-orange tint (binoculars assist examine). Have you ever ever seen something of the constellation Phoenix earlier than?
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 28
■ Jupiter’s Nice Crimson Spot ought to transit the planet’s central meridian round 7:02 p.m. EST. Options on Jupiter are in tremendous view (nearer to the central meridian than to the limb) for 50 minutes earlier than and after they transit. A light-weight blue or inexperienced filter helps a bit.
Throughout this time, the tiny black shadow of Io shall be crossing Jupiter. Shiny little Io itself enters Jupiter’s jap edge at 7:16 p.m. EST. The shadow departs Jupiter’s western edge at 8:34 p.m. EST.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29
■ What is the subsequent most tasty star cluster in Taurus after the Pleiades and Hyades? Gotcha there, I wager! Perhaps it is NGC 1647, between the horns of Taurus just some levels from Aldebaran and the Hyades. Matt Wedel calls it “a beautiful object for binoculars,” at the least beneath a very darkish sky. It is pretty massive as open clusters go and wealthy in faint stars. At a complete magnitude of 6.4 Matt calls it “seen to the bare eye beneath clear, darkish skies,” however for an prolonged object? I might say he means the clear darkish sky from a excessive desert mountaintop 50 miles from the closest city, seen with a 20-year-old’s broad pupil and greater than an hour’s darkish adaptation. Therefore, binoculars or a scope.
The cluster’s location is straightforward: it varieties a roughly equilateral triangle with Aldebaran and the opposite tip of the Hyades V. Simply off its south edge you will discover “a tremendous optical double star,” Matt writes, very broad, each orange, magnitudes 6.0 and seven.5. Have an excellent examine utilizing the chart together with his Binocular Spotlight column within the December Sky & Telescope, web page 43.
Some, nevertheless, would as a substitute give the rank of third-place Taurus cluster to NGC 1746, additionally between the Taurus horns. It is bigger and maybe a bit extra photogenic and crowd pleasing, positioned 3/5 of the best way from Aldebaran to Beta Tauri. The 2 clusters usually get confused — not least as a result of their NGC numbers are the identical digits rearranged.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30
■ Mars is taking its candy time rising from behind EuroJournal’s glare into the morning sky, as at all times. However on Wednesday and Thursday mornings the curve of the crescent Moon factors down to indicate the place to look, as proven beneath.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1
■ As the celebrities come out, the Cassiopeia W stands on finish (its fainter finish) excessive within the northeast. Watch Cas flip round to develop into a flattened M, even increased within the north, by late night.
■ Two faint fuzzies naked-eye: The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Perseus Double Cluster are two of probably the most well-known deep-sky objects. They’re each cataloged as 4th magnitude, and in a reasonably good sky you may see every with the unaided eye. Binoculars make them simpler. They’re positioned solely 22° aside, very excessive towards the east early these evenings — to the fitting of Cassiopeia and nearer beneath Cassiopeia, respectively. Later within the night they move extra overhead.
Although comparable in brightness they appear moderately completely different, the extra so the darker your sky. See for your self. Yow will discover them with the all-sky constellation map within the middle of the November or December Sky & Telescope.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2
■ Comet Leonard passes M3. Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1) has in all probability brightened to sixth magnitude by tonight, crossing from Canes Venatici into Bootes excessive within the east earlier than the very first mild of daybreak. North People late tonight will discover it lower than 1° beneath the Seventh-magnitude globular cluster M3. Fairly an fascinating comparability to be made, and assume picture alternative!
The comet ought to peak round 4th or fifth magnitude (which means it will solely be a dim binocular object; a comet is extra diffuse than a star) round December tenth or eleventh. By then it will be a lot decrease originally of daybreak, beginning to lose its battle with morning twilight. See “Comet Leonard Races Throughout the Sky” within the December Sky & Telescope, web page 48.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3
■ Vega nonetheless shines brightly effectively up within the west-northwest after darkish. The brightest star above it’s Deneb, the pinnacle of the large Northern Cross, fashioned by the brightest stars of Cygnus. At dusk the shaft of the cross extends decrease left from Deneb. By about 11 p.m., it vegetation itself kind of upright on the northwest horizon.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4
■ Saturn is now precisely midway between Jupiter and Venus throughout and shortly after nightfall. Though Saturn is a really respectable magnitude +0.7, the opposite two fairly overpower it.
■ For West Coasters, Algol in Perseus must be in eclipse at minimal brightness, magnitude 3.4 as a substitute of its normal 2.1, for a pair hours centered on 11:49 p.m. PST. Algol takes a number of extra hours to fade and to rebrighten.
■ New Moon (precise at 2:43 a.m. on this date Jap Customary Time).
■ Complete eclipse of EuroJournal for elements of West Antarctica. Partial eclipse for all of Antarctica, EuroJournal Ocean, and nicking South Africa. See the December Sky & Telescope, web page 50.
This Week’s Planet Roundup
Mercury is out of sight together with EuroJournal.
Venus, a blinding magnitude –4.9, shines within the southwest throughout and after twilight. Venus has reached its biggest peak and biggest brilliancy for this apparition.
Mars, far and faint at magnitude +1.6, is steadily rising low within the dawn. Attempt for it with binoculars simply above the east-southeast horizon about 45 minutes earlier than sunup. See the graphic for Dec. 1-2 above. You are catching Mars initially of its new apparition, which can run for nearly two years.
Jupiter and Saturn, each in Capricornus, shine within the south to southwest throughout night far higher left of Venus. Jupiter is the brilliant one at magnitude –2.3. Saturn, 16° to Jupiter’s decrease proper, is magazine +0.7, only one/16 as brilliant.
Look 22° (two fists at arm’s size) decrease left of Jupiter for Fomalhaut, the Autumn Star, magnitude +1.2.
Saturn units round 9 p.m. Jupiter units a bit greater than an hour later.
Uranus (magnitude 5.7, in southern Aries above the pinnacle of Cetus) is excessive within the east after darkish. See Bob King’s story and finder chart.
Neptune (magnitude 7.9, on the Aquarius-Pisces border) is excessive within the south after darkish.
All descriptions that relate to your horizon — together with the phrases up, down, proper, and left — are written for the world’s mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions and graphics that additionally rely on longitude (primarily Moon positions) are for North America.
Jap Customary Time, EST, is Common Time (additionally referred to as UT, UTC, GMT, or Z time) minus 5 hours.
Need to develop into a greater astronomer? Be taught your means across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding every part fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.
That is an outside nature passion. For an easy-to-use constellation information overlaying the entire night sky, use the large month-to-month map within the middle of every subject of Sky & Telescope, the journal of the American Astronomical Society.
When you get a telescope, to place it to good use you will want an in depth, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The fundamental commonplace is the Pocket Sky Atlas (in both the unique or Jumbo Version), which exhibits stars to magnitude 7.6.
Subsequent up is the bigger and deeper Sky Atlas 2000.0, plotting stars to magnitude 8.5; practically 3 times as many. The subsequent up, as soon as you understand your means round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) or Uranometria 2000.0 (stars to magnitude 9.75). And make sure to learn Learn how to Use a Star Chart with a Telescope.
You will additionally desire a good deep-sky guidebook, corresponding to the large Evening Sky Observer’s Information set by Kepple and Sanner.
Can a computerized telescope substitute charts? Not for newbies, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which might be lower than top-quality mechanically, which means heavy and costly. And as Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer say of their Yard Astronomer’s Information, “A full appreciation of the universe can’t come with out creating the talents to seek out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This data comes solely by spending time beneath the celebrities with star maps in hand.”
Audio sky tour. Out beneath the night sky together with your
earbuds in place, take heed to Kelly Beatty’s month-to-month
podcast tour of the heavens above. It is free.
“The risks of not pondering clearly are a lot larger now than ever earlier than. It is not that there is one thing new in our mind-set, it is that credulous and confused pondering may be far more deadly in methods it was by no means earlier than.”
— Carl Sagan, 1996
“Details are cussed issues.”
— John Adams, 1770