Monthly Notes

November 7, 2021

If you get up early in the morning just before sunrise but when it is still dark, look southwest and you will see a bright star that is Sirius, the very brightest star in the whole sky—northern and southern hemispheres. Now, the planets Venus and Jupiter always outshine Sirius. And, every two years when Mars gets close to the Earth, it also outshines Sirius. Remember, at this time, Jupiter and Venus are out in the evening when it first gets dark. If you can see Sirius, look to the west of it for Orion. Its 3 belt stars, equal brightness and spacing, helps to locate Orion.

As an historical note, the Sun and Moon were considered planets way back when. The word planet used to mean wanderer, that is, a celestial object that wandered or moved through the fixed stars/constellations. Both the Sun and Moon move through the stars. Because of the brightness of the Sun, it is harder to recognize that it moves amongst the stars but if you think about it, it does—it sets amongst a different set of stars throughout the year.

The Pleiades or Seven Sisters

The Pleiades sorta looks like a little dipper. It is small in the sky and initally looks like a fuzzy spot to the eyes. Great in binoculars.

What’s Out Tonight? is sponsored by Ken Press, publisher of astronomy books and charts.
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