Gene Zajac Leads to the Heavens!

astronomyThe latest from our highly-regarded Village Astronomer, Gene Zajac:

Many have been watching the morning planets. Venus led the way as being the most visible. The positions of the planets have changed since October. On November 17th and before that date, Venus is getting lower in the morning sky. Mars is farther from the horizon and Jupiter is the highest. The three make a fairly straight line when the planet dots are connected.

I chose November 17th as that is the date of the peak of the annual Leonid shower which is visible between November 6 and November 30. On the 17th the waxing crescent moon sets around 10 pm. The meteors from this shower are the fastest hitting our atmosphere and the brightest! White to bluish- white and they often leave a smoky trail! We can expect about 3 per minute on the average. In 1833 there were 200,000 per hour!! I would love to see that!

Dress warmly and sit comfortably. Alcohol does interfere with the eye’s light adaptation and visual perception. Just saying! Light pollution is another factor to consider. Be prepared to sit our at least 30 minutes to maximize your eye adaptation. These are so bright they can be seen before the moon sets. Great viewing times are after midnight when we are heading into the stream from comet 55/Tempel-Tuttle who both share its discovery. One never knows for sure how numerous the meteors will be. Try any night until Thanksgiving as our weather is always a factor. Enjoy!