look­ing up

Australian Geographic - - Geo buzz - with Glenn Dawes

Naked eye

With the Milky Way low in the evening sky, the far south­ern sky is quite bar­ren, but two stars, both as­so­ci­ated with wa­ter, shine brightly. Ach­ernar is in Eri­danus the River. Fo­ma­l­haut is the bright­est star of Pis­cis Aus­tri­nus, Latin for ‘south­ern fish’.


The colours of stars are ev­i­dent in the V-shaped Hyades open clus­ter, the face of Taurus the Bull. The gi­ant orange Alde­baran makes a bril­liant bovine ‘eye’, with the re­main­ing dozen or so bright mem­bers be­ing mostly blue amid a scat­ter­ing of yel­low ones.

Small tele­scope

Mer­cury has emerged from be­hind the Sun into the evening twi­light. Watch its chang­ing disc as it heads to­wards Earth, grow­ing from 5.1 arc­sec­onds (”) and full-Moon shape in early Novem­ber to a thin cres­cent, 8.7” in di­am­e­ter, a month later.

Glenn Dawes is a co-au­thor of the year­book As­tron­omy 2017 Aus­tralia (Quasar Pub­lish­ing).

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