This month has experienced and will experience an onslaught of celestial events — I know, it’s so exciting.
But the fun things about celestial events and astronomy in general, are that they are connected to everything — the physical stars, whimsical yet interesting topics like astrology, and, of course, Harry Potter.
Last week, the phenomenon known as the “supermoon” occurred. The moon was the closest to the earth that it has been for about 68 years. It made the moon appear larger than it normally does and extraordinarily brighter.
And it was beautiful. I know I took some photos of it on my own, and I encourage all of our readers to email me photos taken of the supermoon so we can publish the best ones with credit to the photographer.
However, the supermoon wasn’t and will not be the only celestial event this month.
Also last week, the Pleiades open star cluster, which is located in the Taurus constellation, was well placed for observation.
The Taurid meteor shower occurred on Nov. 12 and Friday the Leonid meteor shower took place.
The Leonid meteor shower is an event that should be visible to the naked eye. Although shooting stars should have been visible starting on Nov. 15, Friday was supposed to be the best night for viewing.
Aside from meteor showers, the moon will be in conjunction with various celestial objects this month, including Eris, Makemake, Haumea and Mercury.
I was most excited to see the conjunction of the moon and Makemake, until someone pointed out that it will be dim and not bright. Makemake is a dwarf planet that is about two-thirds the diameter of Pluto and is located in the Kuiper belt. In Rockwall, the Moon and Makemake will be visible around 1:58 a.m. on Nov. 24 and will fade at dawn, around 6:49 a.m., according to in-the-sky.org.
Some people might say that is too late to stay awake or too early to wake up, but it’s the night of Thanksgiving. You can stay up late with your entire family to view this exciting celestial event, and, if we’re lucky, it will be a little chilly outside and everyone can have warm beverages without being too hot.
If you find yourself with questions, I encourage everyone to Google these celestial events. Look for calendars that show the right times — and make sure these calendars are set to your location. The sky in the U.K. isn’t the same sky as the sky over Texas. So be sure when you check dates and times, you are set to the correct location.
And now, because I’m nerding out over these fun things, some intriguing vocabulary:
•Syzygy: the alignment of celestial objects. Ex: the earth, moon and sun.
•Earthsine: when the light of the sun is reflected on the earth, thus lighting the dark side of the moon.
•Nebula: clouds of glowing gas; also, in Latin, “nebula” means cloud.
•Supernova: a star that dies in an explosion
Since we are talking about stars, I feel like now is a good time to bring up the zodiac. All of the zodiac signs are constellations and, depending on your birthday, represent the position of the stars, planets, sun and moon at an individual’s time of birth.
So, to casually throw this wonderful Harry Potter connection in my life, my sign is Leo. The heart of the Leo is the star Regulus. Regulus is a character in Harry Potter, a hidden hero who was almost completely cut out of the movies — I have a lot of feelings about that decision — and the Leonid meteor shower, which happened Friday, in the constellation Leo.
So many connections. Discover your own connections and look to the sky tomorrow night.
Anne Fox may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.