Star Calendar – November 2016

Star Calendar

November 2016

Star Calendar Planets:

Moon draws exceptionally near this month (nearest in 30 years) while also Full as it sets on the morning of the 14th.

Mercury peaks into the evening sky as Saturn departs. Around the 23rd will be the first chance to see Mercury – and the last for Saturn for this apparition. Failing that, try again on the 30th when the razor-thin new crescent Moon may serve as a guide. If that fails too, try under the Moon on Dec. 1st.

Venus crosses the Teapot (or Sagittarius) while making her oh-so-slow ascent into evening.

Sun is furthest ahead of Greenwich Time for the year on the 2nd, but is still behind our clocks – until we finally fall back from Daylight-distortion Time on the 6th.

Mars is beyond culmination (its highest altitude for that day, in South) at sunset now, and is being slowly overtaken by the Sun – but Mars will appear higher in the sky on successive nights at a given time because it is progressing beyond the midwinter portion of the ecliptic – and the ecliptic is more steeply inclined to the horizon at sunset. A little counter-intuitive.

Jupiter also appears higher every morning, but simply because the Sun is leaving it behind. The morning ecliptic is still very steep (October mornings are like March evenings in this respect) and will gradually drop through January. Jupiter gets a visit from the Moon on mornings of the 24-25th.

Saturn settles into the sunset, next to appear some morning after midwinter.

Star Calendar Days:

  1      Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 7:28/17:51 (10h23m daylight)

  1, 2   Venus, Saturn & Moon over Antares in SW at 6:45PM

  2      Equation of time maximum for year 16m26s

  3      Moon above Venus in SW at 7:PM

  6      Mornings brighten after U.S. clocks move back to Standard Time

          Moon above Mars South and West in evening

  9      God help us from our dis-aster (bad star) – whichever way it went

11      Martinmas – begins cross-quarter winter

13-14 Super Duper Moon: Full Frost Moon 8:52 AM at extreme perigee

16      Moon rises ENE on the summer colure at 7PM

17      Leonids peak in poor viewing conditions (too much Moon, too nearby)

20-21 Moon passes Regulus without occultation (was one last time)

24      Mercury may just be visible with Saturn at 5:PM with perfect WSW horizon

25      Moon and Jupiter above Spica in SE at 6:AM

28      Solstice on Mars, mid-winter for northern half

30      Mercury to left of Hilal Moon in WSW at 5:PM

          Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 7:01/16:28 (9h27m daylight)

Star Calendar – October 2016

Star Calendar

October 2016

Star Calendar Planets:

Moon is New on the 1st for those in “Greenwich” and zones east – but it is still Sept 30th here. Those who do not mind being up after midnight will have a chance to see an occultation of Aldebaran on the night of 18-19th in the ESE. The bright limb should blot out Aldebaran around 12:45 (I do not have exact times!) and the dark limb should reveal just over an hour later.

Mercury shines with ascending Jupiter on the morning of the 11th, then falls back from his recent morning apparition and moves in direct motion behind the Sun on the 27th.

Venus is just under 15 degrees above the horizon at sunset all month and gradually brightens as she cruises towards Antares and Saturn – arriving between the two on the evening of the 27th.

Sun performs part of its strange semiannual schizo-peregrination on the 30th when much of Europe falls back from Summer Time to Standard Time just before Halloween. In the U.S. the Sun waits to confuse us until just before Election Day.

Mars passes through the steam (Milky Way) of the Teapot (Sagittarius) this month, SSW each evening as darkness settles in.

Jupiter appears next to Mercury (pretty low) on the morning of the 11th and is the brighter of the pair. He will gradually be higher thereafter and will be the brightest object in the eastern morning sky for a while. He is of equal brilliance to Sirius, seen in the south.

Saturn begins the month above Antares and begins direct motion into Ophiucus in earnest. The Moon stands above the pair on the 6th.

Star Calendar Days:

1 Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 6:53/18:37 (11h43m daylight)

2 Sighting of the Moon (WSW, to right of Venus at 6:15PM) begins

    the years 5777 A.M. and 1438 A.H.; Hebrew and Muslim respectively

3 Moon above Venus, WSW around 6:15PM

5 Moon to right of Saturn, SW at 7:PM

6 Mars crosses top of the bow of the Archer, SSW at 7:15PM

8 Moon above Mars, SSW at 7:PM

    Draconid meteors?

11 Mercury (left) and Jupiter shine together 5:15 in East

15-16 Full Hunter’s Moon at midnight (12:23) AND perigee

17 Orionid meteors may peak early – but Moon will frustrate

19 Moon occults Aldebaran after midnight – sometime between 12:30 to 1:30AM

21 Typical peak for Orionids (residue from Halley’s Comet tail

27 Mercury crosses behind Sun (superior conjunction)

      Venus stands between Antares and Saturn low in SW at 5:45PM

28 Moon beside Jupiter in east at 5:AM

29 Mars is nearest to the Sun for its year

30 Europe falls back to Standard Time at 2:AM

      New Moon at 1:38PM

31 Sunrise/set in Spring Valley at 7:27/17:52 EST (11h15m daylight)

      All Saint’s Eve will be DARK this year

Star Calendar – September 2016

Star Calendar

September 2016

Star Calendar Planets:

Moon is New fairly near the Sun’s passing through the middle of eclipse season (near a moon node) but is also near apogee so that it is too distant for its shadow tip to reach earth, making an annular eclipse. Full Moon occurs as the Sun is leaving the realm of the node – making a penumbral lunar eclipse then. Neither event is visible in Spring Valley or our hemisphere. A second New Moon occurs as September closes – but the Sun is then well out of the realm of eclipse-making geometry. The Harvest Moon is a period when the skies never really get dark – making outdoor work possible into the night and/or early morning. This year the Full Moon rises in Civil Twilight and does not set until 2 hours after the following sunrise. The effect is stronger when the Moon is well north of the ecliptic – which it isn’t this year.

Mercury scoots back into the morning sky for a more favorable appearance in the second half of this month. Even though the excursion from the Sun makes a much smaller angle than the last one, the steepness of the ecliptic in morning skies at this time make an overwhelming advantage for us. A crescent Moon aids on the 28th and 29th.

Venus sidles up to Spica during the first half of this month, and overwhelms in the second half. Spica is the signature star of Virgo and may be found by following the curve begun by the handle of the Dipper – through yellow-green Arcturus and about that distance again to whitish Spica. Venus is approaching us, getting larger in angular size, and waning gibbous in phase.

Sun crosses the celestial equator, then rises and sets south of east and west until spring. The alternation of presence in the sky for longer and shorter portions of the day is imitated, in different periods by all of the planets – see Jupiter.

Mars starts making tracks away from the Scorpion and toward the Teapot/Archer this month. When he begins to move out he also fades in brilliance. Remember how bright he was compared to Antares in August? He will diminish to equal brightness by January.

Jupiter crosses the celestial equator near his conjunction with the Sun this month. Jupiter will also fall south of the celestial equator, but, unlike the Sun, will remain there for 5 ½ years. One could call this period an autumn and winter for Jupiter. He will next cross the summer colure in June of 2025.

Saturn begins the month above Antares and begins direct motion into Ophiucus in earnest. The Moon stands above the pair on the 6th.

Star Calendar Days:

  1      Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 6:23/19:28 (13h5m daylight)

          New Moon at 5AM, annular solar eclipse S.Africa, Madagascar, Antarctic

  2      Very young Moon grazes Jupiter low in west, setting around 8:PM

  3      Young Moon above Venus, evening in west

  8      Moon above Saturn, SW at 9:PM

  9      Moon above Mars, SW at 10:PM

13      Mercury crosses near-side of Sun

16      Full Harvest Moon at 15:05, penumbral lunar eclipse for Indian Ocean hemisphere

17-18 Venus passes to above and left of Spica, low-western evening sky

21      Mercury is stationary to stars, visible in low east at 6:AM

          Jupiter crosses to south of celestial equator – remains there until May 26, 2022!

22      Center of Sun crosses celestial equator, autumnal equinox, at 10:21 EDT

          Sunrise/sunset at 6:44/18:53 (12h9m daylight)

25      Sun’s upper limb just tangent to southern edge of celestial equator –

          Sunrise/sunset at 6:47/18:47 (12h0m daylight) equal day and night

26      Jupiter crosses far-side of Sun (conjunct)

28      Mercury at greatest angle from Sun, 18 degrees, for this appearance

          Mercury below waning Moon, low East around 6:AM

29      Mercury just below/right of old Moon, low East around 6:AM

30      Another New Moon for this month, 8:PM