• Larry Glick

Autumn and the Milky Way

You got to love the crisp, clear nights of autumn. Now that we are in the time of Standard Time, and put Daylight Savings time away, we get an early dose of evening. Trips home from work are dark.

Step outside before the dinner hour and the brightest of stars are already overhead. To those who wait a little longer, the Milky Way is an easy find.

The Milky Way extends overhead and across the sky, rising in the northeast and passing overhead, then descending down to the southwestern horizon.

These billions and billions of stars are visible, looking only as a stationary cloud that follows a rough road. Some parts of the Milky Way are brighter than others. Ancient astronomers called that portion of the Milky Way that was faint, coal sacks. It isn't that the Milky Way is truly uneven. Those coal sacks are dark areas of the sky because they are dark matter, dark space obscuring our view of the stars they hide.

Take a look tonight and you'll see the bright constellation Cassiopeia nearly overhead. The constellation visually looks like a large letter "W" and it is amid the brightest part of the Milky Way. Turn your head and follow the Milky Way path to find the constellation Cygnus, the swan, filled with bright stars. The Milky Way cloud in that area of the sky has the texture of a blanket. Some parts of the Milky Way are bright while other parts possess the coal sack, darker areas.

If you were to point your binoculars in that area of the sky, you'd see even more texture.

Sunrise and Sunset
Day Sunrise Sunset
Fri., Nov. 10 6:24 4:26
Sat., Nov. 11 6:25 4:25
Sun., Nov. 12 6:26 4:24
Mon., Nov. 13 6:27 4:23
Tues., Nov. 14 6:29 4:22
Wed., Nov. 15 6:30 4:21
Thurs., Nov. 16 6:31 4:20
Fri., Nov. 17 6:32 4:20
Temperatures and Precipitations
Day Max (Fº) Min (Fº) Inches
Nov. 3 52 29 T
Nov. 4 56 48 0.00
Nov. 5 63 41 0.00
Nov. 6 65 39 0.00
Nov. 7 59 48 0.31
Nov. 8 62 42 0.05
Nov. 9 48 36 0.01
Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 53º F


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