While I was writing this post, I got a call from a reporter from the Warren Weekly newspaper – he said he’s wanted to do and article about the Warren Astronomical Society for quite some time. We discussed the W.A.S., our observatory and a return to doing public outreach events, our meetings and our outreach team.
I also discussed the Great Lakes Association of Astronomy Clubs, and other clubs in southeastern Michigan, the Astronomy at the Beach event, astrophotographers and telescope live-streaming, and volunteer NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassadors.
He asked me to come up with a one-liner to describe the club… I said “The W.A.S. has a lot of members who are passionate about astronomy, and they love sharing their passion with the public.” I also told him that I wished that I’d known about the W.A.S. decades ago!
I also told him about the Vatican Observatory, the VATT, and the Vatican Observatory Foundation… because of course I did!
An hour and an half later, that reporter has an unfortunate amount of notes to sift through. I did warn him that I would natter-on endlessly about astronomy and space science, if he let me… He let me.
I used Stellarium-web to create the images for “The Sky” portion of this post. Stellarium-web is a browser-based version of the installable Stellarium app.
The Moon appears in the southern sky after sunset with three planets: Jupiter, Saturn and Venus from Nov. 9th – 12th. By the weekend, the Moon will have moved away from Jupiter and into the southeastern sky after sunset.
Mercury and Mars appear low in the eastern predawn sky – Mercury getting lower each morning, and Mars getting a bit higher. The two planets appear very close to each other on Nov. 10th and 11th. Mercury will vanish from view by the 14th.
Constellations in the western sky after sunset this week.
This zoom-in of the constellation Lyra shows the location of the Ring Nebula – probably in the top 5 of “first things I looked for with my telescope.”
- The Moon is a Waxing Crescent – visible toward the southwest in early evening.
- The First Quarter Moon occurs on Nov. 12th – visible high in the southern sky in early evening.
- After Nov. 12th, the Moon will be a Waxing Gibbous – visible to the southeast in early evening, and up for most of the night.
If you click on the Moon image above, or click this link, you will go to NASA’s Moon Phase and Libration, 2021 page – it will show you what the Moon looks like right now. If you click the image on that page, you will download a high-rez TIFF image annotated with the names of prominent features – helpful for logging your lunar observations!
News Flash! The Moon and Mars are still getting hit by asteroids.
I keep seeing posts with domed structures on the surface of the Moon and Mars… and it kinda makes me go a little crazy… I tried looking for an image of a Moon base blown apart by a small asteroid impact, but no joy.
Landing site found for lunar ice-mining experiment
Ice on the Moon was a completely alien concept in my childhood!
Matthew Henson, co-discoverer of the North Pole, gets a named crater on the Moon
The Sun has 3 spots again, and is showing a LOT of activity, again! Last week, Sunspot AR2893 was where AR2895 is now.
The Sun seen in 193 angstroms on November 8th
An active region with a LOT of coronal loop activity is rotating out of view; AR2893 is not showing as much coronal loop activity as AR2894 and AR2895. The northern coronal hole remains open and large, and the southern coronal hole has reopened. There is one large coronal hole on the Sun’s southern hemisphere.
The Sun seen in 304 angstroms on November 8th
Prominence activity everywhere again! AR2895 is crackling with flares.
Videos courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
You can view the Sun in near real-time, in multiple frequencies here: SDO-The Sun Now.
You can create your own time-lapse movies of the Sun here: AIA/HMI Browse Data.
You can browse all the SDO images of the Sun from 2010 to the present here: Browse SDO archive.
Amateur Solar Astrophotography
Solar wind speed is 347.9 km/sec ▼ with a density of 4.2 protons/cm3 ▼ at 1405 UT.
Click here to see a near real-time animation of the corona and solar wind from the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
- Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) discovered this month: 73, this year: 2578 (+74), all time: 27,412 (+76)
- Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs): 2222 (-1 updated 2021-11-09
- Total Minor Planets discovered (NASA): 1,113,527 (updated 2021-08-17) – not updated for many weeks.
- Total Minor Planets discovered (MPC): 1,143,522 (+13,326, updated 2021-11-09)
Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
|Asteroid||Date(UT)||Miss Distance||Velocity (km/s)||Diameter (m)|
|2021 US5||2021-Nov-09||13.8 LD||13.7||22|
|2021 VW2||2021-Nov-09||14.5 LD||22.7||19|
|2019 XS||2021-Nov-09||1.5 LD||10.7||65|
|2021 VU2||2021-Nov-09||7.7 LD||3.1||11|
|2021 UA12||2021-Nov-09||2.8 LD||4.3||7|
|2021 VV2||2021-Nov-09||6.5 LD||12.8||16|
|2021 VR2||2021-Nov-10||1.8 LD||9.9||15|
|2017 WG14||2021-Nov-10||18.6 LD||11.6||45|
|2021 UA5||2021-Nov-11||11.2 LD||9.3||24|
|2021 VH2||2021-Nov-11||2.9 LD||2.4||7|
|2021 UE10||2021-Nov-12||15 LD||5||19|
|2007 VD138||2021-Nov-12||16 LD||7.7||44|
|2021 UX8||2021-Nov-12||19 LD||6.3||26|
|2004 UE||2021-Nov-13||11.1 LD||13.2||224|
|2021 UO3||2021-Nov-13||4.6 LD||6.6||16|
|2021 VQ2||2021-Nov-13||12.9 LD||7.2||15|
|2021 UM9||2021-Nov-13||4.6 LD||11.2||59|
|2021 VA3||2021-Nov-14||13 LD||8.2||18|
|2021 VG3||2021-Nov-15||10.2 LD||11.4||20|
|2016 VR||2021-Nov-15||8.2 LD||8.7||20|
|2021 VM1||2021-Nov-15||9.3 LD||14.7||23|
|2010 VK139||2021-Nov-15||6.4 LD||13.9||65|
|2019 VL5||2021-Nov-15||8.5 LD||8.1||23|
|2021 VR||2021-Nov-19||15.5 LD||13.3||72|
|2016 JG12||2021-Nov-20||14.4 LD||7.5||112|
|2021 TR15||2021-Nov-20||11.9 LD||7||41|
|2021 KH2||2021-Nov-21||19.3 LD||6.5||31|
|2014 WF201||2021-Nov-24||13.2 LD||5.5||27|
|2009 WB105||2021-Nov-25||15.1 LD||18.9||71|
|2019 BB5||2021-Nov-25||18.8 LD||8.3||16|
|2021 VM||2021-Nov-27||9.4 LD||9||29|
|1994 WR12||2021-Nov-29||16.1 LD||8.8||123|
|2021 UP4||2021-Dec-04||14 LD||8.3||52|
|2019 XQ1||2021-Dec-13||14.1 LD||9.1||30|
|2004 YC||2021-Dec-15||18.4 LD||8.1||27|
|2021 LX3||2021-Dec-18||19.7 LD||6.5||124|
|2016 YY10||2021-Dec-21||11.3 LD||9.2||23|
|2017 XQ60||2021-Dec-21||13.7 LD||15.7||47|
|2016 TR54||2021-Dec-24||16.9 LD||15.5||135|
|2018 AH||2021-Dec-27||11.9 LD||12.7||112|
|2017 AE3||2021-Dec-29||9.3 LD||19.1||155|
|2014 YE15||2022-Jan-06||19.3 LD||6.4||8|
Why is asteroid Bennu shaped the way it is?
A "REAL" close pass!
THESE are the “close passes” I worry about – 3000 km, not the ones passing by at 3.9,000,000 km like asteroid 982 DB…
On November 9, 2021, the NASA All Sky Fireball Network reported 48 fireballs!
(33 sporadics, 13 northern Taurids, 1 Orionid, 1 omicron Eridani)
If you see a bright meteor or a fireball, please REPORT IT to the American Meteor Society and the International Meteor Organization!
Position of the planets & several spacecraft in the inner solar system on November 9th:
Position of the planets in the middle solar system:
Position of the planets in the outer solar system:
Solar System News
Mars Helicopter completes its 15th flight
INCUS mission to study the behavior of tropical storms
SpaceX Dragon returns from the International Space Station
Hubble Space Telescope
SpaceX Dragon returns from the International Space Station
HiRISE - Beautiful Mars
I think I say WOW! every time I see images from this Twitter feed!
LEGO to the MOON!
I pinned this to the top of my Twitter feed.
See a list of current NASA missions here: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions?mission_status=current
ex·o·plan·et /ˈeksōˌplanət/, noun: a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun.
Data from the NASA Exoplanet Archive
* Confirmed Planets Discovered by TESS refers to the number planets that have been published in the refereed astronomical literature.
* TESS Project Candidates refers to the total number of transit-like events that appear to be astrophysical in origin, including false positives as identified by the TESS Project.
* TESS Project Candidates Yet To Be Confirmed refers to the number of TESS Project Candidates that have not yet been dispositioned as a Confirmed Planet or False Positive.
SpaceWeather.com Realtime Aurora Gallery: https://spaceweathergallery.com/aurora_gallery.html
Latest Aurora Oval Forecast
Watoga State Park in West Virginia has been designated an Intl Dark Sky Park!
- Visit an International Dark Sky Park: https://www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/parks/
- If you live in Michigan, visit the Michigan Dark Skies site: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/darkskies/
Education and STEM
Students! Map out a route for a Mars rover!
National STEM/STEAM Day... a day late...
AI generated cosmological bodies - for SCIENCE!
Hubble – Beautiful Universe: CW Leonis
“A hypnotizing vortex? A peek into a witch’s cauldron? A giant space-spider web?
In reality, it’s a look at the red giant star CW Leonis as photographed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope — just in time for celebrating Halloween with creepy celestial sights.
The orange-red “cobwebs” are dusty clouds of sooty carbon engulfing the dying star. They were created from the outer layers of CW Leonis being thrown out into the inky black void. The carbon, cooked up through nuclear fusion in the star’s interior, gives it a carbon-rich atmosphere. Blasting the carbon back into space provides raw material for the formation of future stars and planets. All known life on Earth is built around the carbon atom. Complex biological molecules consist of carbon atoms bonded with other common elements in the universe.
At a distance of 400 light-years from Earth, CW Leonis is the closest carbon star. This gives astronomers the chance to understand the interplay between the star and its surrounding, turbulent envelope. The complex inner structure of shells and arcs may be shaped by the star’s magnetic field. Detailed Hubble observations of CW Leonis taken over the last two decades also show the expansion of threads of ejected material around the star.
The bright beams of light radiating outwards from CW Leonis are one of the star’s most intriguing features. They’ve changed in brightness within a 15-year period — an incredibly short timespan in astronomical terms. Astronomers speculate that gaps in the dust shrouding CW Leonis may allow beams of starlight to pierce through and illuminate dust, like searchlight beacons through a cloudy sky. However, the exact cause of the dramatic changes in their brightness is as yet unexplained.
A star shines when the outward pressure from the fusion furnace at the core balances against the crush of gravity. When the star runs out of hydrogen fuel, the persistent pull of gravity causes the star to start collapsing. As the core shrinks, the shell of plasma surrounding the core becomes hot enough to begin fusing hydrogen. In addition, pressures and temperatures in the core rise to the point to ignite helium fusion. This generates enough heat to dramatically expand the star’s outer layers and swell up into a bloated red giant.
CW Leonis has an orange-reddish color due to its relatively low surface temperature of 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The green-tinted beams of light emanating from the star, however, glow at invisible mid-infrared wavelengths. In the absence of natural color, green has been added to the infrared image for better analysis through color-contrast.”
I simply LOVE finding astronomical images that I’ve never seen before (like this) and sharing them with you!
Software Apps used for this post:
NASA Eyes on the Solar System: an immersive 3D solar system and space mission simulator – free for the PC /MAC.
Stellarium–web: a free web-based planetarium app. It’s a great tool for planning observing sessions.