This is the Griffith Observatory Sky Report through November 4, 2015. Here’s what’s happening in the skies of southern California.
Standard time starts on Sunday morning, November 1. On that date, 1:59 a.m., PDT will be followed by 1:00 a.m., PST, so remember to set manual clocks back one hour before you go to sleep on Saturday night.
The moon’s phase is waning gibbous until Tuesday morning, November 3, when it is last quarter. It is waning crescent on the 4th. Between October 28 and November 3, the time of moonrise advances from 7:28 p.m., PDT to 11:57 p.m., PST.
Saturn is the only bright evening planet, and now it can only be seen during twilight, low in the west-southwest. Saturn sets at 7:41 p.m., PDT on October 28th and at 6:02 p.m. PST on November 4.
The planets Venus, Jupiter, and Mars continue to make an eye-catching trio at dawn, and are best seen, high in the east, between 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., PDT, or 5:00 a.m. to 5:30 a.m., PST. On the 29th, Venus, the brightest planet, is 3 degrees below Jupiter, the second brightest planet. Mars, the faintest of the three planets, can be recognized by its distinctly orange hue, and is located 2 degrees to the lower left of Venus. On following mornings, Venus will move in the direction of the Sun, or to the lower left compared to Jupiter and Mars. On Monday, November 2, Venus and Mars will appear closest together, separated by only ¾ of a degree. On following mornings, Venus will continue to sink below and to the lower left of Mars.
The International Space Station will cross the sky before sunrise on Wednesday, November 4. The ISS will outshine Jupiter as it appears in the southwest at 5:46 a.m., PST. The ISS will appear highest, 64 degrees above the southeast horizon at 5:50 a.m., and it reaches the northeast horizon at 5:53 a.m.
Asteroid 2015 TB145 has been grabbing attention in the news because of its passage close to the earth on Halloween. Unfortunately, it does not have a lot to offer most sky watchers. The closest approach of the asteroid occurs at 10:05 a.m., PDT and will be unobservable from the western hemisphere. The passage will be at the very safe distance of 300,000 miles, about 60,000 miles farther than the average distance to the moon. The asteroid will never appear brighter than magnitude 12, which means it will always require a large telescope to be observed. Astronomers find this asteroid interesting because the large size of the object–1,300 feet in diameter–should allow its features to be studied by radar. Detailed information about the passage can be found by following the links provided by Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Free views of the sun during the day and of the moon, planets, and other celestial objects at night are available to the public in clear weather through Griffith Observatory’s telescopes from Tuesday through Sunday before 9:30 p.m. Check our website for the schedule. The next public star party on the grounds of Griffith Observatory, hosted by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, the Sidewalk Astronomers, and the Planetary Society, will take place on Saturday, November 21.
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From Griffith Observatory, I’m Anthony Cook and I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org