November 2013: Partial Solar Eclipse & Comet ISON & Meteor Showers
This morning, the east coast experienced a partial solar eclipse at sunrise. We were awake and ready to photograph this event, but cloud cover prevented us from getting a decent shot. Furthermore, no one has yet submitted any photography of the eclipse from Pittsburgh to us. This could be due to cloud cover or the fact that the partial eclipse was so negligible from Pittsburgh that it didn’t photograph well. Fortunately, we were able to find some wonderful images from photographers who were located further east.
If you missed the partial solar eclipse this morning, there’s always tomorrow night’s meteor shower. The South Taurid meteor shower is visible Monday night into Tuesday morning. So far, the weather looks decent and moonlight interference won’t be an issue as today is a new moon. The best time to start watching is midnight. This is because at midnight, the constellation Taurus will be high in the sky. Also, the Earth turns into the shower’s radiant point after midnight, which increases the amount of visible meteors. (Thanks to Larry McHenry from the Kiski Astronomers group for clarifying this information for us.)
There will be two more meteor showers later in the month, but viewing conditions won’t be nearly as good as tomorrow night. The North Taurid meteor shower occurs on Monday night, November 11, but the bright waxing gibbous moon will interfere with viewing conditions. It will be best viewed before dawn on the 12th. The Leonid meteor shower is on Saturday night, November 16. Unfortunately, that night is a full moon, which will drown out all but the brightest of meteors.
Comet ISON should be visible with the naked eye before the end of the month and is already visible through binoculars or a small telescope. You can see it right now by looking toward the constellation Leo around 4am. (Not sure where Leo is? In the past, we have suggested using Google Sky App to help find objects and we continue to feel this is still one of the best tools for casual observers and people new to astronomy.)
Without further adieu, here’s some photography of today’s eclipse (large files – may take some time to load.)
Image credit: LlewellynTheFist.
Image Credit: Nazmus @ Naztronomy.com
As a bonus, for those who missed our Facebook post yesterday, here’s a shot of Comet ISON taken yesterday morning.
Image Credit: Robert Sparks