The New Moon is on Monday the 16th this week, and for those devoted Twilight fans I’d like to give a ’shout-out’ as tonight is the New Moon premiere in Los Angeles as well! The movie will open for the rest of us this Friday the 20th. Alright, on with the show.... The moon will be slowly waxing back during the week so it will be relatively dark until it grows back to first quarter next week.
The Leonid meteor shower will peak late on Monday the 16th, into Tuesday the 17th and also on Wednesday the 18th. Look towards the east starting at around 1:00 a.m. EST, around the constellation Leo. This is where the radiant lies, which is the direction from which the meteros will be streaking from.
Orion and The Pleiades are rasing earlier now and can be seen towards the southeastern sky. At about 9:00 p.m. EST, Orion is just by the eastern horizon making its way up towards the southeast. The Pleiades are ahead of Orion at this time shining on the mid eastern sky.
Jupiter is now in the south and southwest for part of the night and sets late at night in the west. Mars is rising between midnight and 1:00 a.m. EST and can be seen all through the late night into the early morning hours, where it will be high up overhead. Saturn is still a dawn planet and can be seen in the southeast before and during sunrise.
For our amateur astronomers there will be an asteroid occultation taking place at dawn on Thursday the 19th for New England and the Montreal region. Asteroid 81 Terpsichore will occult a magnitude 9.0 star in Perseus. You can help measure the size of the asteroid by timing how long the star is occulted. The star will lie low in the west-northwest. Sky & Telescope online edition has posted finder charts, times as well as other details at this location. Go check it out if you want to see the occultation and/or participate in finding the measurement of Terpsichore.
Look on up and smile!