The Sky This Week from October 29 to November 5


Monday, November 1

The American Association of Variable Star Observers is an newbie group devoted to observing celestial objects whose brightness modifications over time. This yr, they’re highlighting a special star every month, and November’s featured variable star is Almaaz, also called Epsilon (ϵ) Aurigae.

Almaaz is a Third-magnitude star situated rather less than 3.5° southwest of easy-to-spot Capella. The pair will rise round 5:30 P.M. native time tonight roughly even with one another, with Capella on the left and Almaaz on the proper. Wait a short time for them to get increased, then flip your focus to Almaaz, which is a part of a small asterism referred to as The Kids. Together with Haedus I (Zeta [ζ] Aur), and Haedus II (Eta Aur), these three stars kind a tall, skinny triangle south-southwest of Capella.

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Almaaz itself is a uncommon, scorching, F-type supergiant star that can be in a binary eclipsing system. That means it has a companion star that crosses in entrance of it each 27 years — and every eclipse lasts for two years! When eclipsed, Almaaz seems roughly the identical brightness as Haedus I (magnitude 3.7); when uneclipsed, it’s magnitude 3. The final eclipse occurred between 2009 and 2011, so Almaaz is at present uneclipsed and at its brightest. Compare it to Haedus I 2.8° to its south to see the distinction.

Sunrise: 7:30 A.M.
Sunset: 5:57 P.M.
Moonrise: 3:27 A.M.
Moonset: 4:33 P.M.
Moon Phase: Waning crescent (14%)

Tuesday, November 2

Taurus the Bull is now rising within the night, and he’s received his eye — actually — on a customer from the asteroid belt. Dwarf planet 1 Ceres skims a mere 7′ due south of the brilliant star Aldebaran tonight and tomorrow morning.

By midevening, Aldebaran is already 15° excessive within the east. This red giant star glows a brilliant magnitude 0.9 and is simple to seek out east-southeast of the well-known Pleiades star cluster (M45). Ceres is magnitude 7.7 — a lot dimmer, after all, however nonetheless brighter than every other of the faint stars inside 20′ of Aldebaran. You can catch the pair with binoculars or a telescope, though the previous is perhaps harder from an city, light-polluted sky.

The largest physique in the principle belt, Ceres has been promoted from asteroid to dwarf planet. Just a bit lower than 600 miles (965 kilometers) throughout, it was first noticed in 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi. This comparatively close by icy world was visited in 2015 by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which spent the following three years in orbit, till the depletion of the craft’s gas brought the mission to an end.

Sunrise: 7:31 A.M.
Sunset: 5:56 P.M.
Moonrise: 4:37 A.M.
Moonset: 5:00 P.M.
Moon Phase: Waning crescent (7%)

Wednesday, November 3

The skinny crescent Moon hangs near Mercury in Virgo this morning; see when you can catch the sight earlier than the Sun comes up.

But the pair has extra in retailer for us right now: Our satellite passes in entrance of the planet Mercury in an occultation that may be seen throughout daytime from the jap half of the U.S. and Canada. The actual second the occultation happens is determined by your location, reminiscent of at 2:38 P.M. CST in Chicago and an hour earlier, 1:38 CST, in Kansas City, Missouri.

If you’re planning to observe the occasion, take excessive care — the pair might be solely 15° from the Sun. If doable, attempt to observe from a location the place the Sun might be blocked, reminiscent of by foliage or buildings. Make certain your telescope is properly aligned and calibrated earlier than you go looking for the sight and if you’re notably inexperienced, keep away from looking for it your self — as an alternative get assist or go to an area membership with skilled members.

The Moon later passes 1.2° due north of Mercury at 3 P.M. EDT.

Sunrise: 7:32 A.M.
Sunset: 5:55 P.M.
Moonrise: 5:51 A.M.
Moonset: 5:28 P.M.
Moon Phase: Waning crescent (2%)

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