Look to the Skies in November

In nature, November is the time of transition into Winter. The last leaves fall from deciduous trees and hibernating animals start their winter sleep. A piece of weather lore that is sometimes quoted for November is: “If the ice in November will bear a duck, then all the rest will be slush and muck” suggesting that a cold November will lead to a mild winter. The predictive power of ducks is reputed to be at its best on Martinmas, 11th November, so check the Lydiard Lake for skating ducks that day!

November is also the time to listen out for the tawny owls calling and to watch for the deer rutting in the parkland. And if you get a cold, clear night, there are two sets of annual meteor showers, the Taurids and the Leonids. Meteor showers are caused when the Earth travels through a cloud of cometary debris. The Taurid meteor shower is caused by debris from Comet Encke and the Leonids are associated with Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which also provides a prolific meteor storm every thirty years or so. The Leonids get their name from the constellation Leo; the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky. Open spaces, such as parkland, with no street lighting, as the perfect place to view the night sky.

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