Celestial events in the skies for the week of Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2017 as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.
The last week of Daylight Saving Time is Sunday we “fall back” and have a 23-hour day. The waxing gibbous Moon will shadow the evening ghouls and goblins that linger around after Halloween, and our natural satellite will be at full phase on Saturday. This will be the Hunter’s Moon. November is named for the Latin “novem,” or number nine, as it was the ninth month in the old Roman calendar that begin with March.
Tuesday, October 31
Halloween night will have trick-or-treaters bathed in some moonlight, and our Moon will be a gibbous phase in the sky, releasing the werewolves and vampires into the night. Today the Sun entered the constellation Libra the Scales.
Wednesday, November 1
Looking north, the familiar five stars that form a “W” on its side are easy to recognize—the throne of Queen Cassiopeia. Her daughter, Andromeda, is east of her, and below is the hero Perseus, the mythological savior of the abducted princess. Lurking along the southern horizon is the monster that terrorized Andromeda, the whale or creature called Cetus.
Thursday, November 2
Today and Friday will find the gibbous Moon rising in the twilight before Saturday’s full phase, the landscape a beautiful canvas for photographers to capture this special moonrise. Download a smartphone app to show you the exact place for moonrise in your part of the country.
Friday, November 3
On this 1957 date in space history, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 2 with the first living creature to orbit Earth; a mixed breed dog named Laika. It was only the second space flight ever—basketball-sized Sputnik 1 was launched a month before—and the one-ton vehicle with pressurized capsule was an amazing accomplishment. Unfortunately, Laika was doomed to die in orbit as “Muttnik 2” had no reentry capability. The heroic dog succumbed when the life support system broke down after one day in space.
Saturday, November 4
The full Hunter’s Moon rises at sunset, shining down on bare trees and illuminating the landscape for the pioneering hunters of Native Americans centuries ago.
Sunday, November 5
Good bye Daylight Saving Time! Get ready for the 6 pm drive time home in the dark as 3 am was eliminated last night and today is a 23-hour, Eastern Standard time day.
Monday, November 6
Bundling up for an hour or so of stargazing is worth it as in that time the sky will noticeably change. The Summer Triangle that frames the Milky Way is setting in the west, and the Great Square of Pegasus rides high in the northeast. By midnight, the mighty hunter Orion will have cleared the eastern horizon to begin his reign over the night.