Saturday, November 24, 2007

Clear Skies....Get Yer Coat On and Get Out There!

We're in for a few days of clear skies, and even though the nearly full Moon will dominate the entire night sky for the next few days, you should bundle up and get out for a little bit of winter sky orientation. The Moon's light will make observation of Comet Holmes difficult if not impossible.
Moonlight will wash out all but the brightest stars, but you can use that fact to help you locate the bright stars of the "Winter Hexagon".
Refer to this PowerPoint file (The Winter Hexagon) to learn to know the 6 bright stars that mark the winter skies. (if you need a PowerPoint viewer, get it here) Tonight the Moon is between Aldebaran and Capella, and over the next few evenings it will work its way toward a close encounter with Mars - between Capella and Pollux - on the night of 11/26.
For good viewing you should have a clear view of the sky to the EastSouthEast of you, and be as far from artificial lighting as you can get. Give your eyes about 15 minutes to adjust to the dark once you're outside (that's why you want yer coat on!)
And I've turned on the comments option, so let everyone else know if you get out there, and what you're able to see.

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