Sunday, October 31, 2010

November Skies and Events

November Skies
Planets grace the evening and morning sky this month. There are several skywatching events this month that will allow Space Place’ers to get out and enjoy the sky, including one that I will be participating in. Join me at George Mason University Observatory on Monday, November 1st at 7:00 p.m. Check here for more details and weather status

Tune into NASA for the scheduled last launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on the 3rd and the rendezvous of the Deep Impact/EPOXI spacecraft with Comet Hartley on the 4th. You can follow these missions at

Skywatching Highlights
Mercury moves low into the western sky during the first week of November and by the end of the month it is still pretty low to the horizon.

Brilliant Venus begins to grace the morning sky in the east before dawn as the month begins. Venus will start out low in the east-southeast early in the month but will climb higher each day. Because it is so bright, you have a pretty good chance of seeing the “Morning Star”. Venus will be up three hours before dawn on the 30th. Having a clear horizon free of trees and buildings will help the view.

Mars is hard to see low in the west at sunset.

Bright Jupiter is well up in the southeast at sunset and remains visible almost all night. If you have binoculars or a telescope you can watch the four main moons of Jupiter change their position night after night.

Saturn is in the eastern sky before sunrise and will be climbing higher each week. The waning crescent Moon will be just to the right of the ringed planet on the 3rd.

New Moon is on the 6th, First Quarter Moon is on the 13th and this month’s Full Moon occurs on the 21st. This month’s Full Moon is called the “Beaver’s Moon” as the beavers are active this time of year. Another name for this month’s Full Moon is “Snow Moon” but hopefully Mother Nature will not let the weather live up to this name! Last Quarter Moon is on the 28th.

Here are our down to Earth events for this month.
Open House at the Department of Astronomy at the University of Maryland, College Park Campus Observatory, will be at 8 p.m. on the 5th and the 20th.
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The National Capital Astronomers (NCA) have their monthly meeting on the 13th at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Maryland, College Park Campus Observatory. The speaker is Dr. Tamara Bogadanović (UM), Black Holes: Alignment of Spins, and Light From Mergers. Read More About It:

The National Capital Astronomers (NCA) will host a star party in Rock Creek Park on the 6th starting at 7:00 p.m. Read More About It:

The Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) will meet at 7 p.m. at George Mason University (GMU) on the 13th. The speaker is Professor Mike Summers from George Mason University and he will be discussing the Mars airplane project and how atmospheric biomarkers relate to the history of life on other worlds.
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NOVAC will host a public star party on the 6th at Sky Meadows and at CM Crockett Park on the 13th.These events are a great opportunity to get out under the stars and look through a wide variety of telescopes.
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The United States Naval Observatory (USNO) has Monday night tours but space is limited.
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The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) has several space related activities this month.
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There is also a NASM Skywatching event tonight, 6:00 pm to 9:00 p.m. at Sky Meadows State Park, near Paris, Virginia.
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The TriState Astronomers General Meeting will be held on the 17th, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at the William Brish Planetarium, Commonwealth Ave, Hagerstown, MD.

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Got a Topic That Interests You? I literally have a whole universe of topics to select from for my column. But I'm interested in hearing from MyFoxDC readers about what interests them. Feel free to contact me at skyguyinva@gmail.comwith your suggestions and comments. I also have a weekly column at WTOP News that you can follow at

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