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October Skies 2014

31 – Hallowe’en features a “royal” meeting of Jupiter, the King of the planets, and Regulus, the brightest star in the regal constellation of the Lion.  In addition, Regulus is one of the four “Royal Stars” of ancient Persia.

November Skies 2014

November sees a return to Standard Time, (on the 2nd), and starts with a morning display of Mercury, its best of the year.  The Milky Way is high overhead, with the Summer Triangle slipping into the west, while the dazzling Capella rises higher in the northeast.  Lower in the east, the red star Aldebaran marks the eye of Taurus, the Bull.  Just above Taurus is the fainter cluster of stars known as the Seven Sisters, or the Pleiades.  Mars lingers in the southwest, while Jupiter rises earlier each night, close to 10 o’clock by month’s end, to the right of the star Regulus, the brightest star in Leo.  Venus and Saturn remain in the Sun’s glare.

 1 –  Standard Time returns tomorrow, so set your clocks back an hour tonight. The idea of a “standard” time, and time zones replaced the Sun as the method for determining noon. Local noon is when the Sun is directly south, but when trains made long distance travel possible in the 1800s, train schedules required standardized, rather than local time.

2 -   Early risers will see Mercury putting on its best morning show of the year through the upcoming week, the best viewing from 5:20 until 5:40 AM.  Although only the width of your hand above a level eastern horizon, Mercury is a surprisingly bright spark of light.

 

Spaceweather.com

Look for descriptions of the Total Lunar Eclipse of October 8th, and images taken from North America and the Pacific (not visible for Asia, Europe, or Africa)

Draco the Dragon and the northern sky (click on image for larger image in a new tab) 
Draco the Dragon

 

 

 

Astronomy Resources


Sky and Telescope’s safe eclipse viewing guide


You can view the partial eclipse safely and easily following the directions provided.

 

The Mars Science Laboratory – Curiosity Rover

This is the home page for the Curiosity Rover.  Explore the site to find images, videos, and volumes of science information.

 

The Mars Exploration Program

This is the home page for all of the on-going missions to Mars.


 


The Mars page of the website Nine Planets

Nine Planets is a great website featuring information about each planet (and even though there are only eight “planets”, you’ll find information about nearly all of the moons, dwarf planets, and other small solar system bodies)

 

Sky & Telescope's Interactive Star Chart

You must register first (it's free) to use this on-line chart.  Follow the directions to get a chart that will show the sky for any location, at any time.  You can also create a .pdf file to view from your computer any time.

 

The Old Farmer's Almanac

 

Astronomy Picture of the Day


Each day brings a fascinating look at astronomy, and an explanation of what you are seeing.


Vermont Astronomical Society

The Vermont Astronomical Society (VAS) is a group of amateur astronomers that has been serving northern Vermont for over 45 years. Membership ranges from beginning naked-eye stargazers to advanced amateurs with home observatories and elaborate equipment.

 

 

NASA Science

This is the home of NASA, where science ranges from the Earth to the ends of the universe.  That means there's a lot to explore!  

SpaceWeather.com


News and information about the Earth-Sun environment, including astronomy events (eclipses, moon phenomena, asteroids, etc.), discoveries, and Northern Lights.  


Magazines:  

Sky & Telescope Magazine


 Astronomy Magazine

Books: There are thousands of books, and each has information that can be helpful.  You might collect a few before you find one that matches your taste and way of thinking about astronomy.  To help you get started, check with your local library or favorite book store for the following titles:  

The Stars by H. A. Rey

Rey, well known for writing and illustrating the "Curious George" books, wrote this wonderful introduction to the night sky in the 1950s, and it remains one of the best for a wide range of ages and interests.  

NightWatch by Terrence Dickinson

This ring-bound book leads the beginning star gazer through the heavens, rich in photographs, charts, and lots of practical information.  

Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning by Richard Hinkley Allen 

For those who love the myths and origins of star names and constellations, this is a wonderful start.  Some of the interpretations have been challenged in recent years as others have looked into the subject, so it is not considered the final authority.  But it is still a wealth of ideas and information.  

Night Sky: A Guide to Field Identification (Golden Field Guides) by Mark R. Chartrand

This all around guide book shows you how to find the constellations, describes the nature of the heavens and the objects we see, and how to set up and use a telescope  

Exploring the Night Skies with Binoculars by David Chandler

This is must, because it gives such practical and realistic expectations about what you can see.   

Also of interest:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy by Christopher De Pree and Alan Axelrod

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

365 Starry Nights by Chet Raymo

The Sky: A User’s Guide by David Levy
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