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McDonald Observatory SkyTips
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Vol. 6, No. 11: November 2007
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In This Edition
» November Stargazing
» November Radio Programs
» Connecting with Teachers at CAST
» Coming Up in StarDate Magazine
» News from the Observatory
» Distinguished Science Talks
» Pass on the Benefits of "Friendship"
Stargazing Summary
stargazing iconVega remains the brightest star high in the west on November evenings, but it is lower each week. Meanwhile, Capella, Vega’s match for brightness, is climbing in the northeast. Spot the midpoint between Vega and Capella; nearby is Polaris, the North Star, which is not very bright. The little Pleiades cluster is off to the right of Capella, in the east. Aldebaran is below the Pleiades. By midevening, the constellation Gemini is in view far below Capella, with Mars in its middle while Orion is in view far below Aldebaran.

November Sky Almanac:
Weekly Stargazing Tips:
Stargazing Summary
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November 1-4: Lunar lineup. The Moon swings past some bright company in the morning sky this week — the brilliant "morning star," plus the star that represents the heart of the lion.

November 5-11: Lightning strikes twice. The city of Wethersfield, Connecticut, has an unusual distinction: It was twice hit by meteorites — and they were just a decade apart. Plus an early look at winter's evening skies.

November 12-18: Warp speed! Some scientists and engineers are getting together this week to talk about giving space travel a swift kick — all the way up to warp speed. We'll talk about the possibilities for warp drive, and about a famous power source.

November 19-25: Cycles. Like people, stars go through well-defined life cycles, and we'll talk about one star that's nearing the end of that cycle. We'll also talk about a hunter's cyclical return to the evening sky, and a cycle of birthdays.

November 26-30: The lithium problem. Lithium is an element that we use in everything from batteries to medicine. But there's a problem with lithium — there doesn't seem to be enough of it. We'll have details on lithium from the Big Bang to the stars.

November Program Schedule:
Find an Affiliate:
Connecting with Teachers at CAST 2007
At the November 2007 Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST) meeting in Austin, McDonald Observatory will host several teacher workshops, hand out materials, and have daily prize drawings at our exhibit hall booth. Come see us! Teachers can win a pair of 20x80 binoculars from Celestron (a $300 value), or a SkyView Pro 8 GoTo Reflector telescope from Orion, complete with Starry Night Pro 6 software (a $1,400 value), and more!
This Month in StarDate Magazine
magazine coverIn our November/December issue, visit Earthly locales that mimic solar system destinations NASA plans to explore. Richard Lovett explores spots similar to various Martian terrains, and Marc Airhart takes us to the bottom of a deep sinkhole in Mexico where engineers are testing a cave-diving robot to learn how best to the underwater world of Jupiter's giant moon Europa — a possible home for life in the solar system.

Find out more:
News from the Observatory
Most Powerful Supernova Ever: Found with Mini, Monumental McDonald Observatory Telescopes
Astronomer Robert Quimby has done it again. Found the most luminous supernova ever, that is. Quimby discovered the current record holder, supernova 2006gy, last year as part of his Texas Supernova Search project. Now he announces that a supernova he discovered earlier in the project is actually twice as luminous. Using follow-up studies to pinpoint its distance, supernova 2005ap peaked at more than 100 billion times the brightness of the Sun.

Find out more:

Consortium Selects Site in Chile for Future Giant Magellan Telescope
The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory and Texas A&M University Department of Physics have announced that the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Consortium has decided to build the GMT at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Las Campanas is operated by the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

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Show Your Support as a Friend
2007 is the last year that donors 70.5 years or older can now make a lifetime gift from their IRA without incurring undesirable tax effects. Such gifts can go a long way toward improving science education for students and teachers. More information is available at the University of Texas at Austin website.

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About SkyTips
SkyTips is a monthly email newsletter for visitors to McDonald Observatory and StarDate Online. Each issue features stargazing highlights, upcoming StarDate radio program descriptions, and other news. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and family.

SkyTips is a publication of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory Education and Outreach Office, 1 University Station A2100, Austin, TX 78712. Reproduction of SkyTips content is permitted with proper credit given to McDonald Observatory.