Night sky guide for November 2017

Night sky guide for November 2017

November brings us peaks of 2 notable meteor showers, Northern Taurids (Class II) on November 11 and Leonids (Class I) on November 18. The Moon will be 24 days old during the peak of Taurids and 30 during Leonids, presenting minimal interference.

We also have peaks of 2 variable meteor showers (Class III), Andromedids on November 8 and alpha Monocerotids on November 21, and 2 weak meteor showers (Class IV), zeta Cancrids on November 7 and November iota Draconids on November 21, both with a maximum rate of meteors per hour less than 2.

This month's Full Moon is on Sunday, November 4. 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 and Hunters Moon.

A spectacular conjunction of Venus and Jupiter will be visible on November 13. Look for this impressive pairing in the Eastern sky just before sunrise.

The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky on November 18 (New Moon). This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • November 2 - Conjunction of Jupiter and Haumea - 23:04 UTC. Jupiter and Haumea will share the same right ascension, with Jupiter passing 28°14' to the south of Haumea. Jupiter will be at mag -1.7 in the constellation Virgo, and Haumea at mag 17.4 in the neighboring constellation of Bootes.

  • November 3 - Conjunction of the Moon and Eris - 03:26 UTC. The Moon and Eris will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 8°17' to the north of  Eris. The Moon will be at mag -12.7 in the constellation Pisces, and Eris at mag 18.8 in the neighboring constellation of Cetus. The Moon will be 15 days old.

  • November 4 - Full Moon - 05:24 UTC. The Moon will reach full phase on November 4. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, the Moon lies almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky, placing it high above the horizon for much of the night. 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 2017 – 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. Over the nights following November 4, the Moon will rise around an hour later each day, becoming prominent later in the night. Within a few days, it will only be visible in the pre-dawn and early-morning sky. By the time it reaches last quarter, a week after full moon, it will rise at around midnight and set at around noon.

  • November 10 - Close approach of the Moon and M44 - 01:36 UTC. The Moon and M44 will make a close approach, passing within 2°38' of each other. The Moon will be at mag -12.2, and M44 at mag 3.1, both in the constellation Cancer. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible through a pair of binoculars. The Moon will be 22 days old.

  • November 10 - Conjunction of the Moon and Ceres - 16:18 UTC. The Moon and Ceres will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 6°47' to the south of Ceres. The Moon will be at mag -12.0, and 1 Ceres at mag 8.4, both in the constellation Cancer.

  • November 11 - Conjunction of Venus and Haumea - 10:51 UTC. Venus and Haumea will share the same right ascension, with Venus passing 27°56' to the south of  Haumea. Venus will be at mag -3.9 in the constellation Virgo, and Haumea at mag 17.4 in the neighboring constellation of Bootes.

  • November 11 - Northern Taurid meteor shower. This is a minor meteor shower (Class II), running each year from October 25 to December 4. It will peak this year on November 11. The Moon will be 24 days old at the time of peak activity, presenting minimal interference. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is about 5 per hour (ZHR).

  • November 13 - Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter - 06:05 UTC. A spectacular conjunction of Venus and Jupiter will be visible in the night sky. The two bright planets will be extremely close, appearing only 0.3 degrees apart. Venus will be at mag -3.9, and Jupiter at mag -1.7, both in the constellation Virgo. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. Look for this impressive pairing in the Eastern sky just before sunrise.

  • November 15 - Close approach of the Moon and Mars - 02:52 UTC. The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 3°00' of each other. The Moon will be at mag -10.2, and Mars 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. The Moon will be 27 days old. 

  • November 15 - Conjunction of the Moon and Makemake - 04:29 UTC. The Moon and Makemake will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 26°00' to the south of  Makemake. The Moon will be at mag -10.2 in the constellation Virgo, and Makemake at mag 17.1 in the neighboring constellation of Coma Berenices.

  • November 16 - 24P/Schaumasse at perihelion. Comet 24P/Schaumasse will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 1.20 AU.

  • November 16 - 24P/Schaumasse reaches its brightest. Comet 24P/Schaumasse is forecast to reach its brightest, at around mag 12.1. It will lie at a distance of 1.20 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 1.46 AU from the Earth.

  • November 16 - 62P/Tsuchinshan at perihelion. Comet 62P/Tsuchinshan will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 1.38 AU.

  • November 17 - Conjunction of the Moon and Haumea - 15:45 UTC. The Moon and Haumea will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 24°14' to the south of Haumea. The Moon will be at mag -8.9 in the constellation Virgo, and Haumea at mag 17.4 in the neighboring constellation of Bootes. The Moon will be 28 days old.

  • November 17 - Conjunction of the Moon and Venus - 05:41 UTC. The Moon and Venus will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 3°57' to the north of Venus. The Moon will be at mag -8.2, and Venus at mag -3.9, both in the constellation Libra. 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 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 but cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 45°S. At magnitude 1.6, M45 is visible to the naked eye, but best viewed through a pair of binoculars.

  • November 18 - Leonid meteor shower. The Leonid meteor shower is a major meteor shower (Class I), running annually from November 5 to December 3. This year, it will reach its maximum rate of activity on November 18. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is around 15 per hour (ZHR). This, however, assumes a perfectly dark sky and that the radiant of the meteor shower is directly overhead. In practice, the number of meteors you are likely to see is lower than this. The Moon will be 30 days old at the time of peak activity and will thus present minimal interference. 

  • November 18 - Conjunction of Mars and Makemake - 08:05 UTC. Mars and Makemake will share the same right ascension, with Mars passing 29°20' to the south of Makemake. Mars will be at mag 1.7 in the constellation Virgo and Makemake at mag 17.1 in the neighboring constellation of Coma Berenices.

  • November 18 - New Moon - 11:44 UTC. The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere. Over coming days, the Moon will rise and set an hour later each day, becoming visible in the late afternoon and dusk sky as a waxing crescent which sets soon after the Sun. By the first quarter, in a week's time, it will be visible until around midnight.

  • November 20 - Conjunction of the Moon and Mercury - 09:24 UTC. The Moon and Mercury will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 6°53' to the north of Mercury. The Moon will be at mag -8.9, and Mercury at mag -0.4, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope or pair of binoculars but will be visible to the naked eye. The Moon will be 2 days old. 

  • November 22 - Mercury at greatest brightness - 18:20 UTC. In the southern hemisphere, Mercury will be well placed for observation in the evening sky, shining brightly at mag -0.4. Mercury's orbit lies closer to the Sun than the Earth's, meaning that it always appears close to the Sun and is very difficult to observe most of the time. It is observable only for a few days each time it reaches greatest separation from the Sun – moments referred to as greatest elongation.

  • November 22 - Conjunction of the Moon and Pluto - 19:32 UTC. The Moon and Pluto will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 2°02' to the north of Pluto. The Moon will be at mag -10.6, and 134340 Pluto at mag 14.7, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair 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 24 - Mercury at greatest elongation east - 02:22 UTC. The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of 22.0 degrees from the Sun. In the southern hemisphere, Mercury will be well placed for observation in the evening sky, shining brightly at mag -0.4. These apparitions take place alternately in the morning and evening skies, depending whether Mercury lies to the east of the Sun or to the west. When it lies to the east, it rises and sets a short time after the Sun and is visible in early evening twilight. When it lies to the west of the Sun, it rises and sets a short time before the Sun and is visible shortly before sunrise. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.

  • November 25 - 62P/Tsuchinshan reaches its brightest. Comet 62P/Tsuchinshan is forecast to reach its brightest, at around mag 12.1. It will lie at a distance of 1.38 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 1.31 AU from the Earth.

  • November 28 - Mercury at dichotomy - 09:03 UTC. In the southern hemisphere, Mercury will be well placed for observation in the evening sky, shining brightly at mag -0.3. Mercury's orbit lies closer to the Sun than the Earth's, meaning that it always appears close to the Sun and is very difficult to observe most of the time. It is observable only for a few days each time it reaches greatest separation from the Sun – moments referred to as greatest elongation.

  • November 28 - Conjunction of Mercury and Saturn - 09:52 UTC. Mercury and Saturn will share the same right ascension, with Mercury passing 3°03' to the south of Saturn. Mercury will be at mag -0.3, and Saturn at mag 0.4, both in the constellation Sagittarius. 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 30 - Conjunction of the Moon and Eris - 13:44 UTC. The Moon and Eris will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 8°06' to the north of Eris. The Moon, 12 days old, will be at mag -12.6 in the constellation Pisces, and Eris at mag 18.8 in the neighboring constellation of Cetus.

Video courtesy Hubble Space Telescope

Sources: American Meteor SocietyIn The Sky by Dominic Ford

Featured image credit: Hubble Space Telescope. Edit: The Watchers

Comments

Milos 15 days ago

A lot of info

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