You don't really need this email to know that it's cloudy outside.
We'll be canceling our Monrovia sidewalk astronomy night tonight as a
result. Here's something you "can" try at home, once the clouds go
away, that is:
*Periodic Comet Hartley 2* remains about 6th magnitude, appearing big,
round, and dim in binoculars. This week it's crossing Auriga and passing
its closest to Earth (on October 20th). Here are some nice charts from
Sky and Telesocpe magazine.
This chart is through the 18th, and the above link has more charts for
the next few weeks and months. I think it's easiest to tip this week's
chart 90 degrees counter-clockwise so Capella is at the bottom and
Cassiopeia is at the top. Capella is a very bright star, and you'll be
able to see it from the city. Then look to your north and find the "W"
shape of Cassiopeia, and then scan the cloud-free sky night by night. I
have not seen it from the city, but I will still try. After next week,
it will require a late night or - after midnight wake-up to see the
constellation Gemini. Good luck!
My monthly podcast this month is about the solar system, and includes a
solar system you can make! Several "How to make" activities are on the
"related links" section below the podcast versions.
Finally, when I was researching this month's podcast I came across a
solar system necklace kit. I ordered one, made it in a couple hours,
and I've been wearing mine every day. Here is what it looks like:
. Mine cost $24.50, tho' there are several more expensive versions. I
requested a "movable" comet to represent Comet Hartley 2, and the artist
has added this to the products she sells, and I have the prototype on my
That's all for this month, November 12 and 13 are the likely Pasadena
and Monrovia sidewalk astronomy nights next month, and I'll be heading
to Mojave National Preserve (MNP) on October 30th for dark sky stargzing
with the National Park Conservation Association, and the MNP friends and
staff. Limited campsites at Black canyon Group Camp site available,
RSVP for a free campsite to: David Lamfrom <dlamfrom(a)npca.org>rg>.
Let me know if you will bring a telescope. Telescopes are not required,
I just want to know how many as there is a small platform to put up to
5-6 scopes on.
Jane Houston Jones
My What's Up Podcast: Oct 2010-The Solar System