Friday, 8 November 2019

Nov 8 2019


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Edited by: Nelson Poirier
Transcript by: Louise Nichols
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** There was an error in the Thursday edition in the location Annette Stone observed the CANADA JAYs [Mésangeai du Canada].  It was in the Irishtown Nature Park, not Mapleton Park, and Brian Stone has done up a map to indicate where she saw them.  Canada Jays often adopt a year-round territory, so it is quite possible they could be regulars in that area to give possibilities for an audience with them.

** Lynda Leclerc again visited the man-made lake, Meadow Lake, near the Harrisville Rd. entrance to the Humphrey Brook trail.  She found four HOODED MERGANSERs [Harle couronné] there on Wednesday and all the regular MALLARDS [Canard colvert].  This is a nearby spot that many of us should be taking note of to visit to see what shows up there.

** Aldo Dorio had three WHITE-TAILED DEER [Cerf de Virginie] pay a visit to his Neguac yard on Thursday.  Aldo’s photos show the winter pelage coming on, going from summer brown to winter gray.  The hairs of the winter pelage are hollow to provide more effective insulation from the cold weather, whereas the summer hair coat lacks this hollow factor.  The yearly rut period has not started yet, so the wary antlered bucks are not often seen.  That should change soon when love is in the air!

** It’s Friday and this week’s Sky-at-a-Glance is included in this edition, courtesy of sky guru Curt Nason.  It’s looking like clear evening skies in the next week will be a special event in itself, but all that Curt mentions will still be there, ready for a clearer window when it happens.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2019 November 9 – November 16
The observing highlight of the week, and of the year, is a transit of Mercury. On Monday, from 8:36 am to 2:04 pm, Mercury can be seen crossing the face of the Sun with a properly filtered telescope, providing the weather cooperates. A Mercury transit occurs only 13 or 14 times a century, and of those the Sun might not be up in New Brunswick or it might be cloudy. Although Mercury passes between Earth and the Sun every 116 days, it is usually above or below the Sun in our sky because its orbit is tilted to ours. It is only when Mercury reaches inferior conjunction within a few days of May 8 or November 10, when the two orbits line up with the Sun, that we see a transit. Mercury will be a tiny, sharply defined black circle moving slowly across the Sun, too tiny to be seen without a solar-filtered telescope.

Members of RASC NB, the provincial astronomy club, are planning public observing events for the Mercury transit. On Monday, look for safely-filtered telescopes set up at Bore View Park in Moncton, and in Saint John at Saints Rest Beach, at the entrance to Rockwood Park, and at Loyalist Plaza by Market Square. It will be 30 years before another Mercury transit is visible from New Brunswick.

This Week in the Solar System   
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:11 am and sunset will occur at 4:54 pm, giving 9 hours, 43 minutes of daylight (7:14 am and 5:01 pm in Saint John).  Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 7:20 am and set at 4:46 pm, giving 9 hours, 26 minutes of daylight (7:23 am and 4:53 pm in Saint John).

The Moon passes near Uranus on Sunday and it is full, the Rivers Freezing Moon, on Tuesday. Mercury is at inferior conjunction on Monday, becoming visible in the morning sky next week, while Venus and Jupiter are moving toward a southwestern rendezvous in two weeks. Saturn remains in good position for suppertime observing and sets around 8:30 pm. Mars rises at 5 am above the bright star Spica. The North Taurid meteor shower peaks this Tuesday. Although the Taurids are not plentiful, they tend to be bright.

The Fredericton Astronomy Club meets in the UNB Forestry-Earth Sciences building at 7 pm this Tuesday, and RASC, the provincial astronomy club, meets in the same location at 1 pm on November 16. All are welcome.

Questions? Contact Curt Nason at
Nelson Poirier,
Nature Moncton