Saturday, November 9, 2013


Have you heard about the comet that may be visible to the naked eye this month, Comet Ison? The comet is plunging toward the sun, and not even professional astronomers really know how bright Comet Ison will get.
If you can get outside an hour before sunrise on November 18th and look toward the horizon to the southeast, you may see the comet, aimed toward the sun. Mars, the Red Planet, will be higher in the southeastern sky. Mercury will be bright, barely above the horizon, before sunrise.

As darkness falls this month, Venus is bright in the southwestern sky, fairly low, to the left of the sunset. As November progresses, Venus climbs higher in the evening sky, impossible to miss if the sky is clear. Full moon comes November  17th. The traditional full moon name for November is the “Beaver Moon”. It is also called the “Frosty Moon” or “Snow Moon”. This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter.  (from Farmers Almanac).

I won’t be able to see these celestial sights from my cage, but perhaps you will. Let me know.

In our modern age, it seems that most people have lost touch with the natural world, and rarely look at the night sky. When the night sky is denied you, it becomes more precious.


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