Thursday, October 28, 2010

Morning Stargazing

6:30 a.m. A quick update on the fun sky this morning, just a few minutes ago, and the sheer luck of stargazing at dawn. I was late looking, almost missed the whole show. Sure wish I could post a picture! Maybe I'll have to try drawing it.

The brilliant Winter Hexagon was aloft, as noted earlier, but now the waning Moon was near its center at Castor's feet. And "last night the Moon had a golden ring" (two points for pegging that poetic allusion!*), giving the hexagon a special glow. The ring stretched from Procyon to Bellatrix (Orion) and Menkalinan (Auriga), but left Aldebaran and Rigel outside its circumference, something like this.

As I glanced at Aldebaran, a sizable satellite cruised between the horns of the bull, and crossed the southern end of the hexagon! Definitely worth getting up early for...

*And three more for telling us what that forebodes! (What, no bites? Okay: Wreck of the Hesperus, by H.W. Longfellow. And hurricane.)

Update: November 4, 6:15 a.m. I'm pretty starstruck these darker mornings, and it seems I can't get enough of looking at the Winter Hexagon. This morning the sky was glorious (with less than 5% of crescent Moon just rising), and a few meteors flared across the hexagon's field. Another satellite zoomed in about the opposite direction to the one mentioned above, exiting the hexagon just to the right of Capella. Then lo! a simultaneous satellite appeared, so I watched as the two made near-parallel, but increasingly divergent paths off to the north.

Alas, another starry post is in the works. Maybe I'll get back down to Earth one of these days.

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