The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike Tues., Nov. 27th and Thurs., Nov. 29th at Topstone Park in Redding, CT.
Take Rt. 7 to Topstone Road.
Follow over railroad tracks staying on Topstone Rd.
Keep going just past where it turns to a dirt road.
Parking area will be on right side of road.
Meet at 8:30am.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
November 2012 Constellations of the Month: Pegasus and Andromeda
High in the sky and a little to the West are our November 2012 constellations of the month, Pegasus and Andromeda. They are south and east of last month's constellation, Cygnus, and south and west of our Dec. 2011 constellation, Cassiopeia, "the W".
They look like a big square, with some appendages. This is called the Great Square of Pegasus, even though the northeast star in the square belongs to Andromeda (which is why we needed to have 2 constellations this month). Can you guess how many side-by-side full moons it would take to stretch across one side of the square?
At the end of one of the appendages is the globular star cluster M15, which has about 100,000 stars. Globular clusters, unlike other stars and clusters we see in our Milky Way galaxy, are not located in the disk of the galaxy. They are found "above" and "below" (there is no direction which is "up" or "down" in space) the central part of the disk. They formed before the rest of the galaxy took shape.
Andromeda's stars are relatively faint, and they don't form a recognizable shape. But the constellation has one major attraction – M 31, the Andromeda Galaxy. It is a huge spiral galaxy which looks much like our own Milky Way. It is bigger than the Milky Way and contains about a trillion stars, which is at least twice as many as the Milky Way. It is bright enough to be seen with the naked eye. It appears so bright, because it is so close -- only 2.5 million light years (16 trillion miles) away. With the naked eye, it looks about as wide as 3 full moons.
... which brings us to the earlier question of how many full moons would stretch across a side of the Great Square – Answer: about 30. That's a lot more than most of us would guess. Here's a question which will be answered next month: How many moons, side-by-side, would it take to stretch across the sky in a line (arc) from the eastern horizon to the western horizon?