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TOPIC: November 2008


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RE: November 2008
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Meteor shower set to light up skies on bonfire night
Britons looking forward to celebrating bonfire night with fireworks will also be treated to an impressive meteor shower this year.
The Taurid meteors are lighting up the sky between mid October and mid November but are expected to reach their peak tomorrow, with up to 15 shooting stars crossing the sky every hour.

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Mercury will be low in the eastern sky just before dawn for the first week of the month. Binoculars will help in your search for the fast moving planet. NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft performed the second flyby of Mercury on October 6th at a closest approach of only 125 miles.

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Usually at the top of the list for stargazing events in November is the annual Leonid meteor shower. This year, the nearly full moon rises at midnight, washing out all but the brightest of meteors. You may see a few in the early evening hours.
Comet Temple-Tuttle is responsible for the Leonid shower, which is a short period comet that was first discovered by William Temple in December 1885 and Horace Tuttle in January 1886. There are accounts that this comet may have been seen as early as 1366.

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I know most of us enjoy going back to standard time because we get an extra hour of sleep. But stargazers and amateur astronomers love standard time because it gets dark enough by 6 p.m. It's the best stargazing season of the year.
In Palm Beach evening skies toward the end of twilight, you'll see Jupiter and Venus in the low southwestern sky. Venus is brighter and to the lower right of Jupiter. Check out Jupiter and Venus as they draw closer to each other. By the end of the month, they will be two degrees apart. Make sure you catch the Jupiter-Venus show early in the evening because they're both below the horizon by 8 p.m.

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Venus and Jupiter head for conjunction
The king of the gods is marching closer every day to the goddess of love, as anyone can plainly see in the western sky during twilight.
Whether this great celestial drama means anything depends on whether you believe in the ancient pagan gods and goddesses or, more precisely, in their symbolic influences on us from the sky. Many people still do, though they might not admit it quite so baldly.

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Sister Planet lights up evenings
As the day slips away into twilight, the soft, colourful radiance of the western sky has a gentle beauty all its own.
This month, a planetary vis­itor adds a bedazzling touch to the scene.
Venus has been a fixture low in the southwest for much of the fall. The planet hasnt been visible for very long after the sun goes down, but that will change this month.

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The Taurid meteors, sometimes called the "Halloween fireballs," show up between mid-October and mid-November, but Nov. 5 to 12 will likely be the best time to look for them this year, taking into account both their peak of activity and the effect of increasingly bright moonlight on viewing conditions.
After the Moon sets around 11 p.m. local time on Nov. 5, later on subsequent nights some 10 to 15 meteors may appear per hour. They are often yellowish-orange and, as meteors go, appear to move rather slowly. Their name comes from the way they seem to radiate from the constellation Taurus, the Bull, which sits low in the east a couple of hours after sundown and is almost directly overhead by around 1:30 a.m.

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The Mt. Vernon Parks and Recreation Department will continue its Family Adventure Series with Astronomy Night, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7.

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A monthly look at the night skies of Wyoming, written by Ron Canterna, professor in the University of Wyoming Department of Physics and Astronomy.
The November skies provide a brief tour of our beautiful winter constellations after 9 p.m. Say goodbye to the summer triangle of Vega, Deneb and Altair. The Milky Way rides across the sky going directly overhead and settles on the western horizon.

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