This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, November 6, through Sunday, November 8, written by Alan French.
This weekend features a nice celestial treat in the morning sky just before sunrise. If you look toward the east southeast at 5 am on Saturday morning the crescent Moon, Venus, and Mars will form a nice, tight grouping against dark skies, with bright Jupiter well to their upper right. Venus will be to the left and just a bit higher than the old Moon, while fainter, reddish Mars will be above the pair. Venus and the Moon will be just over a degree and a half apart – three times the apparent diameter of the lunar orb.
If you hate such early hours, you can still spot the grouping at 6 am, although morning twilight will be encroaching on the horizon. The Sun rises at 6:38 pm.
If you up again on Sunday morning at 5:00 am, the Moon will be well below the planets, but it will be a very pretty, slender crescent, less than 10% illuminated.
The Albany Area Amateur Astronomers will take advantage of the dark moonless skies this weekend to hold public star parties at Landis Arboretum in Esperance. The star parties will be at 8:00 pm on Friday, November 6, and Saturday, November 7. At star parties club members set up telescopes to show guests a variety of celestial sights – galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, and double stars. All ages are welcome and there is no admission charge, although we encourage guests to make a modest donation to our fine hosts, Landis Arboretum.
Landis Arboretum is on Lape Road and there are good signs leading there starting at Route 20 and Charleston Street. Turn up Charleston and follow the signs (when driving into Esperance on Route 20 from the east Charleston is the first right after crossing the Schoharie Creek). You can also find directions on their web site. After reaching the farmhouse on the right and parking lot on the left continue up Lape Road for 100 yards. Turn right into the Meeting House field driveway. It will usually be marked with a “Star Party” sign.
For newcomers there will be a brief introductory talk at 8:30 pm. Gather in the south side of the gravel parking area next to the Meeting House. The talk will include hints about using and enjoying the telescopes and a brief tour of the brighter constellations.
Star parties are canceled if the skies are mostly cloudy or if it’s raining. If conditions seems uncertain or in doubt, please call 518-374-8460 to insure the event is being held. If no one answers the phone, wait for a message. We encourage people to call unless the skies are completely clear and the forecasts predict the same for the night.