Even though there’s no evidence of little green men from Mars, there was a little green object spotted near the planet last month.
That object was Comet ISON. Cyanogen and diatomic carbon gases erupting from its core glow green when hit by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
If you have a telescope you can see it low in the eastern dawn sky near Mars before it’s close to the Sun at 1.1 million kilometres on Nov. 28. You might see it during the day on that date. If it survives its journey around the sun, it could reappear in early December and put on a spectacular show well into January.
Like all comets it’s hard to predict if it will glow brilliantly, or become a dud. It could be the best comet show we’ve seen in awhile.
If you’re thinking about buying a telescope, or don’t know how to use the one sitting in the closet you should come out to the club’s telescope clinic on Nov. 8 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Hamilton Spectator, 44 Frid St. Free admission and everyone is welcome. There will also be a donation bin for local food banks if you would like to make a donation.
While you’re there, you can pick up a copy of the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers 2014 calendar. It’s loaded with local night sky information and awesome astronomy photos taken by club members.
Mercury is best seen this year in the southeast dawn sky after the second week of Nov. Venus can be seen in the southwest early evening sky. It reaches its maximum distance away from the sun on Nov. 1. Jupiter rises in the north eastern mid-evening sky in Gemini. Saturn is behind the sun on Nov. 6 but reappears low in the dawn twilight sky later in the month.
Nov. 3: The moon will cover less than 10 per cent of the Sun during a partial ellipse at 7:50 a.m.
Nov. 6: The crescent moon is above Venus low in the evening south western sky.
Nov. 18: Mercury at its greatest distance from the sun.
Nov. 21: The moon is below Jupiter during late evening.
Nov. 24: Comets ISON and Encke are close to each other four degrees below Mars and Saturn low in the dawn sky.
Nov. 25 and 26: Mercury and Saturn are very close to each other in the dawn south eastern sky.
Nov. 29: Spica is very close to the Moon in the morning sky and disappears behind it during midmorning daylight.
For more information, see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at www.amateurastronomy.org or call 905-627-4323.
The Sky This Month appears monthly. Mario Carr, the author of this report, is the club’s director of public education and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.