Southern Colorado Skies / October 29-November 4, 2017

Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available; an excellent program (STELLARIUM) is available free at http://www.stellarium.org/.

THIS WEEK

Winter is coming and that means the glorious constellation Orion looms high over the southeastern horizon before dawn. But have you ever noticed a couple of often overlooked constellations just below Orion? I’d like to point out two of Orion’s often-neglected companions in the sky – the rabbit (Lepus) and one of Orion’s two hunting dogs (Canis Major).

The photo shows Orion on top (north) accompanied by his faithful dog apparently chasing Orions’s prey, the rabbit. By looking at the matching photo to the right (with constellation lines), you can see that the dog appears to be on its hind legs, with Sirius blazing away as its “heart.” Lepus (to the right, or west) has a more horizontal appearance; its ears appear just under Orion’s left knee (a.k.a. the blue super-giant star Rigel).

 

 

Tuesday (October 31)

If you’re out and about among trick-or-treaters tonight, point out the waxing gibbous Moon in the southeast sky tonight. You can also show off your astronomy skills by pointing out the Great Square of Pegasus just to the Moon’s upper left.

Friday (November 3)

Full Moon tonight at 11:23 p.m.

Saturday (November 4)

Look to the lower left of the Moon this evening to see Aldebaran (reddish tint) in the constellation Taurus.

REMEMBER TO SET YOUR CLOCKS BACK ONE HOUR TONIGHT. Standard time returns at 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

DAYLIGHT

PLANETS

Mercury (in Libra):

Mercury is hidden in the glare of the sunset.

Venus and Mars (both in Virgo):

Venus is still a “morning star” as it rises during dawn very low on the eastern horizon. Mars is higher to the upper right of Venus by about 15 degrees (about 1-1/2 fist widths held out at arm’s length).

 Jupiter (in Virgo):

Jupiter is now hidden in the glare of the sunrise.

Saturn (in Ophiuchus):

Saturn is visible very low in the southwest just after nightfall (see last week’s graphic).

Uranus (in Pisces):

High in the southeast by mid-evening.

Neptune (in Aquarius):

Also high in the southeast by mid-evening.

BRIGHT IRIDIUM FLARES

The following data are based on my location in Pueblo West, Colorado. If you live well outside this area, you should consider checking this information for your location in order to be assured of accurate times, elevations, etc. If you’re unfamiliar with Iridium flares, check out my article at: http://scaspueblo.com/blog/2017/02/25/iridium-flares/.

Monday (October 30) 5:50:11 a.m. / Magnitude -1.4 / S / Elevation 32 degrees

Monday (October 30) 7:59:28 p.m. / Magnitude -1.9 / NNE / Elevation 35 degrees

Tuesday (October 31) 6:45:47 a.m. / Magnitude -2.6 / SSE / Elevation 37 degrees

Thursday (November 2) 7:08:27 a.m. / Magnitude -3.8 / SE / Elevation 24 degrees

Friday (November 3) 5:35:15 a.m. / Magnitude -3.5 / S / Elevation 29 degrees

Saturday (November 4) 5:29:17 a.m. / Magnitude -6.9 / S / Elevation 28 degrees

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)

These are too numerous to list here! If you’re seriously interested, load the ISS DETECTOR app on your smart phone or tablet.

Carpe noctem

Dave Furry

Pueblo West, Colorado

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