In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the Leonid meteor shower fell short of impressive. Some thought the shower was going to produce a hundred or more meteors in an hour of watching. This observer saw about three meteors in ten minutes.
The Leonid shower gets its name from where ancient astronomers believed it originated: the meteors appear to radiate from the zodical constellation Leo. Modern-day astronomers know the meteors only appear to come from the constellation. These small particles of debris entering our atmosphere and burning up are in orbit around the sun; much closer than the distant stars of Leo.
The gibbous moon will dominate the sky over the coming weekend. The moon is in the zodiacal constellation Aries over the weekend and slips into the zodiacal constellation Taurus early in the week. The moon is full on Tuesday and has the seasonal name Holly Moon.
Mars is brightening. The planet glows low in the eastern sky, well after sunset. The gibbous moon appears near the red planet Sunday night for a pleasant view. The two are in the zodiacal constellation Cancer, and are easy to spot after 10 p.m.
A thin crescent moon appears low in the southwestern sky tonight, after sunset. The moon will be low in twilight. More Vineyarders will see the moon tomorrow and thereafter as the moon appears a good deal higher in the sky.