November Sights

Even though I know that just saying it will likely jinx it, I have to say I’m looking forward to November’s sights. I just have to hope the weather will be nice to me at the right times to be able to enjoy and maybe photograph some of the events coming.

Samhain, celebrating summer’s end, and also the witching hours of All Hallow’s Eve and All Hallow’s Day usher in the month, never mind the dark half of the year and the end of harvest. For me, November starts when my little (and not so little) creatures come out of the woodwork and demand their yearly ransom of candy. What form and shape will they take this year? I’ll soon know!

Then if you’re lucky enough to be in the right location, which unfortunately I’m not, there’s an Annular/Total Solar eclipse right up front: November 3. My friends in New York City should be able to see at least part of it, lucky them. For them, it won’t be directly visible, but they’ll be able to see the effects, beginning at 5:16 AM and ending at 7:11 AM as the sun rises. Assuming they get up that early on a Sunday.

Then we start getting into where I pray to every weather god I can think of for good skies. November 17 is when the Leonids Meteor shower peaks, give or take. Of course, on this night I am fortunate to have a full, 100% moon. With moonrise at 5:39 PM.  And it doesn’t set until 8:37 AM on the 18th.  Stellarium says the moon is high at midnight, 116 degrees so SSE, when Leo is just starting to come above the horizon, 69 degrees so ENE. Ah, well, even if Luna does wash out Orion and the Leonids meteor shower, there’s still M31 high up in the WNW, well clear of Luna. I might still get some meteors in my photos anyway, too. Of course, I have to work the next day….

And then on November 28 we get to find out if C/2012 S1 (ISON), more popularly known as Comet ISON, survived it’s 730,000 mile approach to the sun. If we should be so lucky to have the comet come out of that encounter at the high end of it’s brightness, we might be able to see it in broad daylight. I know I’ll be outside on Thanksgiving around 12:40 PM MST looking to see if it shows up. I’ll be ready to potograph it if it shows, blocking out the sun behind a telephone pole or something. At that time the comet will only be about 5 degrees to the right and 2 degrees below the sun. Could be challenging. But if it is visible at the high end of visibility, we might well have a tail that covers a quarter of the sky. That would be truly awesome and you know if that’s the case I’m going to be yelling for those same Samhain imps, goblins, choreographers, and whatever else to get out and look.

I’m also looking forward to having the Thanksgiving week off and using it to do some astrophotography, and likely some other photography as well. It may be pretty cold by then in the wee hours, but winter offers some of the best astrophotography opportunities with the cold, clear air, compared to the much more disturbed, yet more comfortable, night air of summer. Then, too, the moon is only almost a quarter illuminated and rises in the early hours of the morning, giving me a lot of time with no moon.

There’s so much to photograph at night, so much I want to learn, and so much I want to try with my cameras. November will be fun for this.

Oh, and since we’re talking about photography anyway, I might as well leave you with a picture of my latest new camera. It’s only 1 MP but it sure is fun.

New camera is the quadcopter in the front.

It’s a Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam quadcopter. It’s fun, sturdy, and I’ve already crashed it a few times with no damage. The other copter in the background is a Radio Shack Micro Mosquito.

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