I’m back in time for the Full Moon

By Francis Parnell

By popular request I’m back! November has a number of celestial groupings that will be neat to observe, including an unusual and almost total lunar eclipse. At dusk on the 7th, look west-southwest to spot a 3-day- old young crescent Moon and dazzling white Venus about 3.5 degrees apart. Look southwest on the 10th to catch the first quarter Moon between the two large gas giants, Saturn and Jupiter. The Moon is around 6.5 degrees lower left of Saturn tonight. By the 11th, the eastward motion of the Moon puts it just over 5 degrees lower left of brilliant Jupiter. Early morning of the 19th a very deep partial eclipse of the full Moon occurs with 97 percent of the lunar disc in Earth’s shadow and only a small sliver of the southern part of the Moon in sunlight. The partial eclipse begins at 2:18 a.m., mid eclipse is at 4:03 a.m., partial eclipse ends at 5:47 a.m. If you’ve never observed a deep partial eclipse, set your clock to 3:55 a.m., run outside and take a quick look at mid eclipse (great view in binoculars), then head back to bed. On the 19th at dusk, the Moon rises in Taurus, above the “V” of the Hyades, the face of the Bull, and below the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters. The glare of the Moon will wash out the two star clusters, but you can spot Aldebaran, the Eye of Taurus, 7 degrees below the Moon. After sunset on the 23rd, look east to spot the waning gibbous Moon in Gemini about 3-degrees from Pollux. Castor, the other Twin, completes the triad. FAST FACT: As you know, I ended this column two months ago because of the new blue-rich white-light-at-night LEDs that have been installed all over town. They disrupt the life cycles of all nocturnal creatures. They attract and kill 50 percent more insects than the amber-colored lights, and all predator/prey relationships are destroyed. They even play a part in shutting off our body’s production of melatonin, a natural hormone that fights breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Darlington had a lighting ordinance that required amber LEDs, but someone downtown made a very bad decision based on perception instead of scientific research and facts. “Keep looking up!”

Author: Stephan Drew

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