Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth - Ptolemy
'The most common precipitation in the Solar System could be diamond rain.' I must admit that when I read that, my interest was piqued. Dr Kevin Baines of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reports that crystallised carbon rains down on the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. What would Elizabeth Taylor say?
The Hefty Chelyabinsk Meteorite
Scientists can find out a lot of information from meteorites so it's precious stuff and extremely valuable. When the Chelyabinsk meteor exploded over Russia in February this year, some chunks landed on Earth. Luckily the largest piece landed in a lake, so it was recoverable. What's the half-a-tonne lump of space rock dredged up from the bottom of Lake Chebarkul on 16 October worth, I wonder?
November 2013 Diary Dates
Comet Encke and Comet ISON both reach perihelion this month (33.1 million miles and 1.1 million miles from the Sun respectively). Have you managed to see any of the four comets in the sky at the moment yet?
- 02: The Moon and Spica (alpha Virginis) are within one degree
- 03: New Moon
- 03: Total Solar Eclipse visible only from the Atlantic Ocean and equatorial Africa
- 05: Southern Taurids meteor shower peak, although it's usually drowned out by more Earthly fireworks
- 06: Venus and the Moon line up
- 11: The Moon passes 6° north of Neptune
- 15-18: Comet LINEAR passes by Arcturus (alpha Boötis)
- 15-20: The Leonid meteor shower is the remains of the trail of a periodic comet called Tempel-Tuttle. To avoid being drowned out, make sure you look for your 'shooting stars' before the Moon becomes full!
- 17: Full Moon, the Beaver, Frosty, Trading and Sassafras Moon
- 17-18: Comet ISON has a close encounter with Spica
- 18-20: Comet Encke passes Mercury
- 21: Comet Encke reaches perihelion
- 21: The Moon passes 5° south of Jupiter
- 25: Mercury passes 0.3° south of Saturn
- 28: Comet ISON reaches perihelion
- 29: The Moon and Spica are within one degree
Chat about your celestial observances at the H2G2 Astronomy Society. Comment on anything in this edition of Babe Among the Stars by starting a new conversation below.