Hi everyone, I'm heading out to Mojave National Preserve's Black Canyon
Group Campsite tonight for a star party! I've announced this before to
you all, and I doubt anyone will make the trek on Halloween eve, but the
weather is improving, and I'm packing right now! We'll be celebrating
the preserve's anniversary, creating awareness of the pristine desert
dark skies, and take star tours. We'll probably see some slow, yellow
Taurid meteors too! http://www.preservethemojave.org/index.php
Here are news and events:
Comet Hartley 2 was seen from La Canada Fintridge a few days ago. A
colleague of mine at JPL took out a medium-sized telescope the other
night at his house and he was able to see the comet. I haven't managed
to see it myself and it is my project for the desert tonight. It'll be
faint and unimpressive, but comets are always worth hunting down.
Here is a comet finding chart - the comet is skimming by the "feet" of
Gemini over the next few days. Look for Gemini rising in the east to
the left or north of Orion after 10:30 p.m, the later and higher the
better. Try with binoculars and telescope if you have one.
On November 2nd, Malcolm Hartley, the comet's discoverer will be giving
a public talk at JPL,
Back on March 15, 1986, while observing in Siding Spring, Australia,
Hartley discovered the comet that would officially be designated Comet
103P/Hartley2 (Hartley 2). On November 4th, 2010, NASA's EPOXI mission,
the extended mission of the Deep Impact Spacecraft, will capture
close-up images and other data as it flies within 750 kilometers (460
miles) of the comet's nucleus, estimated to be about 1 kilometer (0.6
miles) in diameter.
My What's Up podcast for November is online, too.
Here's the many-versioned webpage, complete with recipes for edible
comets and spacecraft.
Our next sidewalk astronomy night will be November 13th in Monrovia.
I'll be in Canada -- Winnipeg, Thompson, Nelson House, Churchill and
back to Winnipeg via the 1000 mile train ride for the next two weeks, so
I'll catch up with you in December. Jane
Jane Houston Jones
My What's Up Podcast: November-Planets and Meteors
NASA http://is.gd/guuXF Youtube http://is.gd/eSMnh
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jhjones /CassiniSaturn /otastro
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>.
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
Twitter:http://twitter.com/jhjones /CassiniSaturn /otastro
I know we've been lazy about updating the web site, but there's always
When you start seeing the crescent moon in the evening sky, growing
bigger every day, you know it's coming up on a sidewalk astronomy weekend.
Unfortunately the weather isn't looking very good this weekend. We're
going to call off Pasadena tonight for fog, clouds, and a chance of
rain. Tomorrow in Monrovia could be better, but I'll send an update
tomorrow morning as the forecasts come out.
Meanwhile if you do get some clear sky, glance up in the evening and
enjoy seeing the bright gibbous moon growing towards full a week from
tonight. Brilliant Jupiter is in the east in the evening, and crossing
the southern sky all night as the earth turns.
More tomorrow ...
Morris Jones, Monrovia, CA