Sunday, December 3, 2023

Night Sky


October to November

by Jim Ulik

The ancient Greeks were not immune to relying on oracles or self-proclaimed representatives of a god or gods to prophesize future events. An oracle informed King Acrisius of Argos that if his daughter Danae had a son he would grow up to kill him. With Zeus as the father, there was little the king could do to prevent Perseus from being born. The king feared the oracle’s prophecy, so he cast his grandson and daughter out into the sea in a wooden chest. They survived by praying to Poseidon to calm the seas.

“Bear witness, Zeus, and all you gods on high Olympus! I condemn my daughter Danae, and her son Perseus to the sea! Her guilt and sin have brought shame to Argos! I, Acrisius the King, now purge her crime and restore my honor! Their blood is not on my hands!” from the movie Clash of the Titans (1981).

Enter Andromeda, the daughter of Cassiopeia and Cepheus, the king of Ethiopia. Cassiopeia claimed that Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids, the nymphs of the sea. That comment angered Poseidon. Another oracle told the king that to appease Poseidon he needed to sacrifice Andromeda to the sea monster Cetus. Perseus rescued Andromeda from her fate using the head of Medusa to turn the monster to stone.
The goddess Athena made the Andromeda constellation in the sky so that she would always be remembered. Surrounding is the family of constellations associated with Andromeda and Perseus. These constellations will be visible throughout the night during October and most of

Sunday, October 01
Look for the Moon to share the night sky alongside Jupiter. The Moon will rise bearing 72 degrees just before 2000h. Jupiter will follow two and one-half degrees separating the pair.

Monday, October 02
The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) will reach its highest point in the sky. It will appear as a fuzzy patch near the Andromeda constellation. The galaxy is rapidly approaching to one day merge with the Milky Way. In fact the halos of both galaxies are now touching. For reference, the Andromeda Galaxy diameter is six times the diameter of the Moon.

Tuesday, October 03
The Moon has shifted its position away from Jupiter to an apparent location near the Seven Sisters.

Friday, October 06
The October Camelopardalid meteor shower reaches its peak. A few meteors will radiate out of the northern sky from an area east of Polaris. The number of visible meteors per hour will increase at higher latitudes.

Saturday, October 07
Pollux, one of the stars used in celestial navigation, is the brightest star in the constellation Gemini. Look for it to rise a few minutes after the Moon. This close approach becomes apparent when they rise above the horizon between 61 and 62 degrees true.

Sunday, October 08
The Draconids meteor shower peaks tonight. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of in the early morning hours. Meteors will radiate out of the north from the constellation Draco, but they can appear anywhere in the sky.

Tuesday, October 10
Venus will remain a morning apparition for the next few months. There is a close approach between the crescent Moon, the star Regulus and Venus. All three objects will be grouped in a near perfect line north to south.

Saturday, October 14
An annular eclipse will cross North, Central, and South America. An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth when it is at or near its farthest point from Earth. The Sun will never be completely blocked by the Moon during an annular solar eclipse. Therefore, during an annular or partial eclipse, it is never safe to look directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection designed for solar viewing. You can also use an indirect viewing method, such as a pinhole projector. The Caribbean will experience a partial solar eclipse where the Moon will only block between 50 to 80 percent of the Sun. The eclipse will begin after 1300h and end shortly after 1600h.

Saturday, October 21
A random shooting star or two may radiate out of the eastern sky the last half of October. Four showers are active now but the liveliest one is the Orionids. This shower may produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. They are produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion but can appear anywhere in the sky.

Monday, October 23
Venus reaches its greatest western elongation of 45 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Venus since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky.
In the evening sky Saturn can be found off the dark side of the Moon. Saturn maintains its position in Aquarius while the Moon has exited Capricornus. For reference, six degrees separate the celestial bodies.

Saturday, October 28
The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be fully illuminated. At moonrise, the tail end of a penumbral lunar eclipse can be seen for about 45 minutes. Even though the Moon is very bright you might be able to spot Jupiter a short distance below.

Friday, November 03
Jupiter will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and visible all night. A good pair of binoculars should allow you to see Jupiter’s four largest moons, appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet.

Monday, November 13
The Moon is located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. Tonight’s New Moon is best time of the month to observe faint objects like the Andromeda Galaxy or shooting stars.

Friday, November 17
The Leonids meteor shower reaches its peak tonight, producing up to 15 meteors per hour. This shower has a cyclonic peak about every 33 years, where hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. The last of these occurred in 2001. The Leonids is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1865. The shower runs annually from November 6-30. It peaks this year on the night of the 17th and the morning of the 18th.

Wednesday, November 22
The alpha Monocerotids may be a meteor shower to watch for. Meteors may begin to radiate out of the east around 2200h. This variable shower could produce from 5 – 400 meteors per hour. The number of visible meteors will increase as the radiant point rises higher in the sky. The shower is active November 14 – 25.

Saturday, November 25
The Moon is making another close approach to Jupiter in the sea monster Cetus.

In the News


U.S. Government UAP-Related Program/Activity Reporting

All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) is leading the U.S. government’s efforts to address Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) using a rigorous scientific framework and a data-driven approach.

“Humans are subject to deception and illusions, sensors to unexpected responses and malfunctions and, in some cases, intentional interference,” Sean M. Kirkpatrick, director of AARO. A web page has been set up to regularly update the public about AARO’s work and findings (

*All times are given as Atlantic Standard Time (AST) unless otherwise noted.

Jim Ulik sails aboard s/v Merengue.

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