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Monthly Sky Report - November 2006

Getting Directions
To find the planets, bright stars and groups, you need to know the compass directions where you watch the sky. Lacking a compass, you can use the sun at the start, middle and end of the day. As you face the rising sun - it will be rising nearly in the East. In mid day (around noon), look at your shadow which then points North. The sun will set nearly in the West.

All Through November
During November, there is an average of 10 hours of sunlight each day. During November, the sunsets drop back from 5:13 p.m. to 4:51 p.m. (EST). Sunrises change from 6:45 a.m. early in the month to 7:17 a.m. at month's end. Stars begin to fade away an hour before sunrise and the star groups come into view an hour after sunset. In the early evening, there are two very bright stars visible, golden Capella in the Northeast and white-blue Vega in the West. The star Vega is brightest star of the Summer Triangle, a trio of bright stars. As Capella gets higher each hour, Vega descends as if the two stars were opposite ends of a plank pivoted at the North Star. Save for Saturn, appearing in the late evening hours, the early evening skies are planetless. The planets Mars, Venus and Jupiter are too close to the sun to be easily seen. The planet Saturn can be seen in the Southwest at dawn, shining in eastern Leo.

Sights for Early November
At the start of November, the moon appears about half full low in the western twilight. The evening moon grows to full on November 4th, then in the star group Aries. This is the Hunters' Moon, a full moon that lingers for the next few nights in the early evening sky.

Sights for Mid November
In mid November, the moon rises after midnight and is best viewed at dawn. The early evening will then be great for viewing the Milky Way, the ghostly glow along the central plane of our galaxy. As it gets dark, the Milky Way can be seen in the western sky, running across the Summer Triangle, a trio of bright stars with the star Deneb on top.

Sights for Late November
On November 24th, a slender crescent moon appears first appear low in the western dusk. On November 27th, the evening moon will appear half full among the stars of Aquarius. This is the best lighted shape of the moon to view the craters and mountains. Along the moon's straight edge, the sun is rising, lighting up the crater rims and mountain peaks.

In late November, the planet Mercury can be seen low in the eastern dawn..

Astronomy Activities
Our November Planetarium presentation is "Cosmic Discoverers", shown on November 5th, 12th and 19th at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Planetarium is in Tawes 302, near the middle of the Frostburg State campus.









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