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 Sky Tonight

Skyweek:  November 18 - 24

This weekly feature airs on some PBS stations, but you can access it through the Sky & Telescope website from this link. It is a 5 minute video with an update of what will be visible in the night sky in the coming week, plus interesting features.

This week's episode: Mercury, the innermost planet, appears in the predawn sky as Comet ISON races toward its rendezvous with the Sun. And Saturn, the ringed wonder, joins the action late in the week.

Also from Sky & Telescope Magazine:

is an illustrated guide to what to look for (and when) in the sky in the week ahead.

The Observer's Toolbox

The Clear Sky Chart below indicates the latest hourly forecast for cloud cover (dark blue indicates no clouds, white is overcast), "seeing" (dark blue for stable air, white for turbulent), and darkness (darkest blue for no moon, pale blue-grey for full moon, white for daylight) for about 48 hours. Ideal observing conditions would have dark blue for all!

The Clear Sky Chart is generated from a forecast model developed by Allan Rahill of the Canadian Meteorological Centre. CMC's numerical weather forecasts are unique because they are specifically designed for astronomers. A script to summarize CMC's forecast images for requested areas is then produced by Attila Danko. For more information, please visit his excellent site.  


Interactive Chart of the Messier Objects

In the later part of the 18th century, French astronomer and comet-hunter, Charles Messier complied a list of about 100 objects which were not comets - but whose fuzzy image might be mistaken for a comet.

The objects are now used as a compliation of different kinds of interesting objects - galaxies, star clusters, supernova remnants, bright nebulae - which are visible in a small telescope. They also serve as a challenge for some astronomers who want to "observe the list"!

For more information, click on any object at right, or see The Messier Catalog.


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