Did Karachi’s Stargazers miss something?

Can you remember? No, well on November 10 there was a celestial parade happening over the sky of Karachi.

Astronomical event of November 10

This astronomical event could have been visible just above the horizon in a westward direction of the sky between 5:45 pm PKT till 6:30 pm PKT . The main feature of this event was that Venus, Mercury and Antares could have been viewed in a straight line together during the early hours of evening.

Mercury, Venus and star Antares in together over Karachi!

  • Antares (A/B) is a red supergiant star in the Milky Way galaxy and the sixteenth brightest star in the nighttime sky. The best time to view Antares is around May 31 of each year, when the star is at opposite to the Sun. At this time, Antares rises at dusk and sets at dawn, and is thus in view all night. It is located in the constellation Scorpius, it has been said that Antares is much more brighter than our Sun.
  • Venus (The Venusian symbol, a circle with a small equal-armed cross beneath it) is the second planet away from Sun. It has a rocky body, it is very similar to the Earth interms of mass and size. The diameter of Venus is only 650 km less than the Earth’s, and its mass is 81.5% of the Earth’s. Venus is often described as the sister or twin of planet Earth.
  • Mercury (☿) is the innermost and smallest planet in the Solar System. The body of Mercury also resembles the body of Earth as both have a rocky structure. Mercury consists of approximately 70% metallic and 30% silicate material. Mercury’s density is the second highest in the Solar System at 5.427 g/cm3, only slightly less than Earth’s density of 5.515 g/cm3.

The triple treat on November 10 for Karachiites was that Venus and Mercury, along with the star Antares, were in a line in the skies above Karachi, but to view Antares star, a telescope is said to be required. Though if you missed this type of astronomical event so there will be another treat on November 17 and 18 – but much different!

Coming up next: Leonids Meteor showers (November 17 and 18)

The leonids is one the types of meteor showers associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle, producing an anverage of 40 meteors per hour at their peak. The last of these occurred in 2001. The shower usually peaks on November 17 and 18 but you see some meteors from November 13 – 20. The Leonid meteor shower is famous. Historically, this shower has produced some of the greatest meteor storms in history at least one in living memory, 1966, with rates as high as many thousands of meteors per hour. These storms sometimes recur in cycles of 33 to 34 years. Like the October Orionids, the Leonids ordinarily pick up steam after midnight and display the greatest meteor numbers just before dawn.

This year, however, the last quarter moon will be shining near the radiant point of the shower in the constellation Leo. The unwelcome presence of the moon is sure to dampen the 2011 Leonid display.

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