Night sky guide for November 2016

Night sky guide for November 2016

This month’s Full Moon - the second of three supermoons in 2016 - will be the largest and closest to Earth since January 26, 1948. It won't come this close again until November 25, 2034.

Out of three meteor shower peaks for the month, only Southern Taurids will be visible under dark skies. This is a long-lasting minor meteor shower, well known for having a high percentage of fireballs - exceptionally bright meteors.

The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun on November 29 - New Moon. This makes it the best day of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters.

  • November 4 - Taurid meteor shower (Southern). The Taurid meteor shower is a long-running minor meteor shower associated with the comet Encke. It runs annually from October 12 to December 2 and is known for having a high percentage of fireballs. It is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The waxing crescent moon will set in the evening early on November 3, providing dark skies. We can expect about 7 meteors per hour, but some of them might be exceptionally bright.

  • November 12 - Taurid meteor shower (Northern). The moon will be 13 days old, and being so close to the Full Moon, will severely limit observations of Northern Taurids. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible from a dark location is around 10 per hour. Because Taurids occur in late October and early November, they are also called Halloween fireballs.

  • November 12 - Conjunction between the Moon and Uranus - 12:28 UTC. The Moon and Uranus will make a close approach, passing within 2°41' of each other. At the moment of closest approach, the Moon will be at mag -12.7, and Uranus at mag 5.7, both in the constellation Pisces. They will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars.

  • November 14 - Full Moon, Supermoon - 13:53 UTC. This month’s full moon will be the largest and closest to Earth since January 26, 1948. The Moon won't be this close until November 25, 2034. The Full Moon will take place unusually close to the time of month when the Moon also makes its closest approach to the Earth – called its perigee. This near coincidence between a full moon and lunar perigee will mean that this full moon will appear slightly larger and brighter than usual in the night sky. Full moons such as this occur roughly once every 13 months. The sequence of full moons through the year are often assigned names according to the seasons in which they fall. This month's will be the second to fall in autumn 2016 – the Hunter's Moon. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Beaver Moon because this was the time of year to set the beaver traps before the swamps and rivers froze. It has also been known as the Frosty Moon. This is also the second of three supermoons for 2016.

  • November 17 - M45 well placed for observation. The Pleiades open star cluster (M45) in Taurus will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of +24°06', it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere and cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 45°S.

  • November 17, 18 - Leonid meteor shower. Leonids have a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. They are known for producing some of the greatest meteor storms in history. That last of these occurred in 2001. Leonids are produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle. The maximum rate of activity expected to be visible from a dark location this year is 20 per hour. The moon will be 19 days old and will present significant interference in the pre-dawn sky.

  • November 25 - Conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter - 03:06 UTC. The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 1°50' of each other.  At the moment of closest approach, the Moon will be at mag -10.6, and Jupiter at mag -1.8, both in the constellation Virgo. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

  • November 29 - New Moon - 12:20 UTC. The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and be lost in the Sun's glare for a few days. This makes November 29 the best day of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters.

Video courtesy Hubble Space Telescope

Featured image bacground: Downtown Los Angeles by Giuseppe Milo. Edit: The Watchers

Comments

Gary 25 days ago

There's a giant ring around the moon and a ring of equal or maybe even greater size right next to it which appears to be coming from nowhere. Is that Uranus? - Phoenix AZ

Cindy 26 days ago

Love this, thank you!!!

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