January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Celestial Highlights for October: Follow the Moon!

Posted: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

by Robert Victor and Robert D. Miller

Follow the Moon each day at dusk or dawn, and within one cycle it will introduce you to as many as five naked-eye planets and the five bright stars of first magnitude within the belt of zodiac constellations.

New Moon occurs on Oct. 4. Two days later, on Sunday evening, Oct. 6, about 20 minutes after sunset, a thin sliver of a young lunar crescent will appear very low in the west-southwest, 20° to the lower right of the bright “evening star”, Venus.

If you have mountains nearby, you may need to seek out a place with an unobstructed sight line toward the WSW that evening, since the Moon will be less than 6° up, within half an hour after sunset. But the view through binoculars is worthwhile: Flanking the Moon will be Saturn, 3° upper right, and Mercury, 2° to Moon’s lower left, all within a 5° field! Mercury and Saturn are now departing the evening sky (see our evening twilight sky chart), but Venus will remain visible at dusk until early January.

As the Moon withdraws farther from the Sun, the crescent thickens and appears within 8° of Venus the next two evenings, to the planet’s lower right on Mon. Oct. 7 and to its upper left on Tues. Oct. 8.

Source: Abrams Planetarium A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11. http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Source: Abrams Planetarium
A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11.
http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Early in the evening, from Sat. Oct. 12 through Sun. Oct. 20, the famous red supergiant star Antares will appear within 5° of Venus. On Wed. Oct. 16, they’ll be as close as 1.5°, with Venus passing above the distant star.

High in the east in October mornings, another very striking pair, of reddish Mars and blue-white Regulus, takes place. During Oct. 7-23, they’ll appear within 5° apart, and within 1° on Tues. Oct. 15.

Source: Abrams Planetarium A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11. http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Source: Abrams Planetarium
A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11.
http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Continue watching the Moon in the evening sky until it reaches Full on Fri. Oct. 18, when it rises around sunset, and for a few nights beyond, as it rises later each evening.

Look about an hour before sunrise for these events (see our morning twilight sky map): On Oct. 22, Moon very near Aldebaran, eye of Taurus; on Oct. 25 and 26, Moon near Jupiter (the brightest “morning star”) and the Gemini Twins Pollux and Castor. On Oct. 29, exactly two weeks after the close Mars-Regulus pairing, find Moon forming a nearly equilateral triangle with them, 7°-8° on a side. On the same date, Arcturus is 33° due north of the Sun and is equally visible at dawn and dusk, as shown on October’s twilight charts. (On what October date will you first spot Arcturus rising in the ENE? On what date in November will you last spot it setting in the WNW at dusk?) Returning our attention to the Moon, on Nov. 1, look for Spica 9° lower left of the waning crescent Moon. On Nov. 2, about 45 minutes before sunrise, watch for the last thin old crescent Moon rising 4°-5° lower left of Spica.

Source: Abrams Planetarium A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11. http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

 

Source: Abrams Planetarium A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11. http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Source: Abrams Planetarium
A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11.
http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Here is an at-school activity, “Daily Morning Daytime Moonwatch,” which you can hold with your classes at the start of the school day. Conditions are ideal in October each year while daylight saving time is in effect. This year, a morning moonwatch can be held at 9:00 a.m. PDT daily during October 21 through November 1 or 2, a total of 13 or 14 consecutive days, the maximum possible! On the first date, the Moon starts out nearly full, low in W to WNW at 9:00 a.m. on Oct. 21, and is seen near Last Quarter (half full) phase well up in SW to SSW on the weekend of Oct. 26-27, and ends as a crescent in SE on Nov. 1 (the 1-percent crescent on Nov. 2 will likely be too thin to see in daylight but could be seen before sunrise.) Happily, the morning moonwatch period includes ten weekdays, Oct. 21-25 and Oct. 28-Nov. 1, with the Moon going from 93 percent full to 4 percent full. For a daytime moonwatch student activity, it doesn’t get any better than that! Now all we need is several clear mornings, not unusual for California.

New Moon occurs Nov. 3 (with a partial solar eclipse visible from the East Coast). Early in evening twilight on Nov. 4, look very low in WSW for the 1.5-day old very thin crescent Moon, some 28° lower right of Venus. Binoculars may show Antares about 10° to the Moon’s left. On Nov. 5, the Moon will be an easy sight, 15° lower right of Venus. On Nov. 6, the Moon passes a wide 7° north (upper right) of Venus. Spotting the Moon before sunset, can you use it to help you find Venus in the daytime? Telescopes will show Venus is then a fat crescent, nearly half full. On the same evening, Venus sets farther south than it will again until eight years later, on November 6, 2021. In following weeks, as Venus begins its swing between Earth and Sun, it will become an ever larger but thinner crescent, easily discerned with just a pair of binoculars if you observe in daylight or near sunset.

Source: Abrams Planetarium A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11. http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Source: Abrams Planetarium
A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11.
http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Beginning in mid-November, all four of the other naked-eye planets will span the morning sky, and the long-awaited Comet ISON may perform. Check the Sky Calendar website, www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/ison/ for updates. More on those topics here next month, and I hope to see you at CSTA in Palm Springs!

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs. 

 Robert D. Miller, who provided the twilight charts, did graduate work in Planetarium Science and later astronomy and computer science at Michigan State University and remains active in research and public outreach in astronomy.

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

OVERVIEW
Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.

REGISTER

http://bit.ly/ACCELERATINGINTONGSS

DATES & LOCATIONS
MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Find Your Reason to Engage

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.