Eye on the Sky this month - meteor shows and super-moons

By Brian Hurren

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This month promises another super-moon. Photo/SNPA/Simon Runting
This month promises another super-moon. Photo/SNPA/Simon Runting

With the equinox behind us we enter the last days of spring with the long dog-days of summer nearly upon us.

We still have the fickle winds of spring lingering on until the end of November. The rapid lengthening of the days will noticeably start to slow down as we reach the end of the month.

Phases of the moon this month are: First quarter is on the 8th, full moon is on the 15th, last quarter is on the 21st, new moon is on the 30th.

This month's moon is called the Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flour Moon or Hair Moon. This month the moon is exceptionally close, some in the media have been calling it a super-moon.

It will appear about 7 per cent bigger than the average moon. This is because it is closer to Earth in its orbit than usual. This is the third super-moon in a row. There will be another one next month.

As for the planets, we welcome back Jupiter into the dawn sky as it finishes rounding the Sun. Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Mars dominate the evening sky. Mercury and Venus are both setting a little later each night. Mercury forms a close pair with Saturn on November 19.

There are about three good meteor showers this month. First, the Southern Taurid shower is tomorrow followed by the Northern Taurid shower on November 12. The real star shower of the month has got to be the famous Leonid meteor show. This shower radiates from Leo the lion. It is the dust trail of the comet Tempel-Tuttle. Expect to see 20 meteors per minute from this one, though it has been known to throw up some surprises.

For more information contact the Rotorua Astronomical Society or find them on Facebook.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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