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November 2009: Moon Calling

November 2009

In the show we have an interview with John Sarkissian about the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia. As ever we have the latest astronomical news, what you can see in the November night sky, and your feedback.

The News

In the news this month: shaping the heliosphere, a record-breaking distant cluster, and another impressive exoplanet haul from HARPS

The Dish

Neil talked to John Sarkissian (Operations Scientist, ATNF) about the history of the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia from construction in 1961. We find out how it was involved in the Apollo 11 landings in 1969 as well as its astronomical research up to today. John curates a comprehensive website about the involvement of Parkes with Apollo.

The Night Sky

Ian Morison tells us what we can see in the night sky during November 2009.

Northern Hemisphere

The nights are getting longer. Due south after sunset is Pegasus, the Winged Horse, which you can use to find the Andromeda Galaxy. Below Pegasus is Pisces below which is Uranus. To the left of Pegasus and Andromeda are Perseus and Cassiopeia. Perseus contains the star Algol - an eclipsing binary which changes its brightness every few days or so. If you follow the line between Perseus and Cassiopeia with binoculars, you should spot the Perseus Double Cluster. Around to the east, Taurus the bull is rising with the Hyades and Pleiades clusters.

The Planets

Highlights

Southern Hemisphere

The nights are getting shorter in the southern hemisphere. After sunset, in the north, you'll see the Square of Pegasus. Below that and to the right is Andromeda. Snaking around over to the north west is the Milky Way with Deneb in Cygnus and Aquila the Eagle above. High in the sky is the planet Jupiter with Neptune is down to the right. Towards the south, reasonably high, is the Small Magellanic Cloud with nearby globular cluster 47 Tucanae. Lower to the left is the Large Magellanic Cloud with the Tarantula Nebula below. The Southern Cross - Crux - can be found by using alpha and beta Centauri as pointers. The brightest star in Crux - Alpha Crucis - is actually a double star and they are separated by about 4 arcseconds. Just below Beta Crucis is the Jewel Box. Finally, below the Jewel Box cluster is the darkest region of the Milky Way known as the Coal Sack.

Odds and Ends

It looks as though NASA are getting ready to free the Spirit rover.

Galloway Forest Park in Scotland is making a bid to become a Dark Sky Park (the first in the UK). The decision is being made around the 14th Nov.

Jodatheoak has created a Flickr group for the Jodcast. Join up and add your astro images.

Show Credits

News:Megan Argo
Noticias en Español - Noviembre 2009:Lizette Ramirez
Interview:John Sarkissian and Neil Young
Night sky this month:Ian Morison
Presenters:Sarah Bryan, Jen Gupta, Stuart Lowe and Neil Young
Editors:Stuart Lowe and Neil Young
Intro:David Ault
Captain Sam Lovell:Chris Montera
Will:Elie Hirschman
Number 1:Steve Anderson
Educator 101:Bruce Busby
Sarah Connor:Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard
Segment voice:Cormac Purcell
Website:Stuart Lowe
Cover art:Fox Mason at the control desk. This photo was taken in 1970. Credit: CSIRO

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