Skywatch for the week of November 28, 2022
Mon Nov 28, 2022 BLACK HOLES PROPOSED
On November 26, 1783, John Michell proposed the existence of black holes, suggesting that there might be super-dense stars with powerful gravitational fields that could keep light from leaving them. This idea was ahead of its time, coming as it did shortly after the American Revolution. But he was right, and in the past several decades we have found evidence for these cosmic dead ends in space.
There is a black hole above us tonight. Vega, Altair and Deneb, three bright stars that form the Summer Triangle are in the west sky this evening. We think there's a black hole in the middle of the triangle – it’s called Cygnus X-1. We can't see it directly; these things are literally out-of-sight, but something’s there, because an incredible amount of x-rays pour out of this region, made by the black hole's gravity.
Tue Nov 29, 2022 ROYAL SOCIETY, TREASURE COAST ASTRONOMICAL SOC.
On November 28th, 1660, the Royal Society was founded. It was made up of scientists and physicians, including Isaac Newton, who wrote the laws of motion and gravity; Edmond Halley, who successfully predicted the return of the comet that bears his name; and Christopher Wren, who rebuilt London after the great fire of 1666.
The Royal Society is active and strong today, with thousands of members from around the world. Now if you’re not part of this society, there’s another group you can join – it’s the Treasure Coast Astronomical Society. Its members carry on the great tradition of science and discovery, and they meet tonight at Indian River State College’s Science Center on the Fort Pierce campus. The meeting is open to the public, and it begins this evening at 7:30 pm.
Wed Nov 30, 2022 THE MOON AND THE CELESTIAL SEA
Tonight the first quarter moon shines out from among the stars of the constellation Capricornus the Sea Goat, along with the planet Saturn. Capricornus and other nearby constellations make up a part of the sky called “the celestial sea.” Above and to the east of Capricornus is Aquarius, whose mythical water jug spilled out into this region of the heavens. East of Aquarius is Pisces the Fish, and tonight the bright planet Jupiter can be found there.
The dolphin Delphinus is above Capricornus, and there’s another fish, Piscis Austrinus, low in the south. And there’s a sea monster, Cetus. To the north, the sea is capped off by Pegasus, the Flying Horse, who according to myth was born out of the sea. To the west of Pegasus is Equuleus the Colt, often depicted as a seahorse.