Night Sky Guide for November 2019

Night Sky Guide for November 2019

November 1 - Fornax well placed for observation. Across much of the world, the Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxy will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At magnitude 9.0, Fornax is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

November 2 - Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn - 07:22 UTC. The Moon (5 days old) and Saturn will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 0°35' to the south of Saturn. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -11.3, and Saturn at mag 0.4, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

November 2 - Close approach of the Moon and Saturn - 07:24 UTC. The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 0°35' of each other. The Moon will be at mag -11.3, and Saturn at mag 0.4, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called conjunction.

November 2 - Close approach of the Moon and Pluto - 18:08 UTC. The Moon and Pluto will make a close approach, passing within 0°23' of each other. The Moon will be at mag -11.4, and Pluto at mag 14.8, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.

November 4 - Moon at First Quarter - 10:24 UTC. The Moon will be prominent in the evening sky, setting around midnight. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, it appears almost exactly half illuminated.

November 11 - Mercury at inferior solar conjunction - 15:16 UTC. Mercury will pass very close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it between the Sun and Earth. This occurs once in every synodic cycle of the planet (116 days) and marks the end of Mercury's apparition in the evening sky and its transition to become a morning object over the next few weeks. At closest approach, Mercury will appear at a separation of only 0°01' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare.

November 11 - Transit of Mercury - from 12:34 - 18:03 UTC. Roughly 13 to 14 times each century, Mercury passes directly in front of the Sun, casting a small black silhouette in front of the solar disk for a few hours. Such a transit will occur on November 11, 2019. Between those times, the transit will be visible from anywhere on Earth, providing the Sun is above the horizon, including from Africa, the Americas, Europe and French Polynesia. Mercury last transited the Sun in May 2016, and its next transit will be in November 2032.

November 12 - Full Moon - 13:36 UTC. 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 2019 – the Hunter's Moon. Over the nights following November 12, 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. At the exact moment when the Moon reaches full phase, it will lie at a declination of +13°52' in the constellation Aries, and so will appear highest in the northern hemisphere. It will be visible from all latitudes south of 66°S. Its distance from the Earth will be 393 000 km.

November 12 - Asteroid 4 Vesta at opposition - 16:48 UTC. Asteroid 4 Vesta will be well placed for observation, lying in the constellation Cetus, well above the horizon for much of the night. Regardless of your location on the Earth, 4 Vesta will reach its highest point in the sky around midnight local time.

November 12 - Northern Taurid meteor shower. The Northern Taurid meteor shower is active from October 20 to December 10, producing its peak rate of meteors around 12 November. Over this period, there will be a chance of seeing Northern Taurid meteors whenever the shower's radiant point – in the constellation Taurus – is above the horizon.

November 18 - Leonid meteor shower. The Leonid meteor shower will be active from 6 November to 30 November, producing its peak rate of meteors around November 18. Over this period, there will be a chance of seeing Leonid meteors whenever the shower's radiant point – in the constellation Leo – is above the horizon, with the number of visible meteors increasing the higher the radiant point is in the sky.

November 18 - Close approach of the Moon and M44. The Moon and M44 will make a close approach, passing within 1°10' of each other. The Moon will be at mag -12.3, 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.

November 18 - M45 is well placed. 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 1.3, M45 is visible to the naked eye, but best viewed through a pair of binoculars.

November 19 - Moon at Last Quarter - 21:12 UTC. The Moon will be prominent in the dawn sky, rising at around midnight. Over coming days, the Moon will rise later each day, so that it is visible for less time before sunrise and it less far above the eastern horizon before dawn. By the time it reaches new moon, it will rise at around dawn and set at around dusk, making it visible only during the daytime.

November 22 - α-Monocerotid meteor shower. The α-Monocerotid meteor shower will be active from November 15 to 25, producing its peak rate of meteors around November 22. Over this period, there will be a chance of seeing α-Monocerotid meteors whenever the shower's radiant point – in the constellation Canis Minor – is above the horizon, with the number of visible meteors increasing the higher the radiant point is in the sky.

November 24 - Conjunction of the Moon and Mars - 09:03 UTC. The Moon and Mars will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 4°20' to the north of Mars. The Moon will be at mag -9.9, and Mars at mag 1.7, 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 24 - Close approach of Venus and Jupiter - 12:26 UTC. Venus and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 1°24' of each other. Venus will be at mag -3.9, and Jupiter at mag -1.9, 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. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called conjunction.

November 24 - Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter - 14:01 UTC. Venus and Jupiter will share the same right ascension, with Venus passing 1°24' to the south of Jupiter. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. Venus will be at mag -3.9, and Jupiter at mag -1.9, both in the constellation Sagittarius.

November 25 - Conjunction of the Moon and Mercury - 02:51 UTC. The Moon and Mercury will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 1°54' to the north of Mercury. The Moon will be at mag -9.0, and Mercury at mag -0.4, 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 25 - Mercury at dichotomy - 10:24 UTC. Mercury will reach half phase in its 2019 morning apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -0.4.

November 26 - New Moon - 15:07 UTC. The Moon will pass close to the Sun and become lost in the Sun's glare for a few days. The Moon's orbital motion carries it around the Earth once every four weeks, and as a result, its phases cycle from new moon, through first quarter, full moon and last quarter, back to new moon once every 29.5 days. This motion also means that the Moon travels more than 12° across the sky from one night to the next, causing it to rise and set nearly an hour later each day. 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 28 - Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter - 10:50 UTC. The Moon and Jupiter will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 0°43' to the north of Jupiter. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -9.2, and Jupiter at mag -1.8, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

November 28 - Close approach of the Moon and Jupiter - 10:58 UTC. The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 0°43' of each other. The Moon will be 2 days old. The Moon will be at mag -9.2, and Jupiter at mag -1.8, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called conjunction.

November 28 - Mercury at greatest elongation west - 12:18 UTC. Mercury will reach its greatest separation from the Sun in its November - December 2019 morning apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag -0.6.

November 28 - Conjunction of the Moon and Venus - 18:50 UTC. The Moon and Venus will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 1°51' to the north of Venus. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -9.6, and Venus at mag -3.9, 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 28 - Close approach of the Moon and Venus - 19:06 UTC. The Moon and Venus will make a close approach, passing within 1°51' of each other. The Moon will be at mag -9.6, and Venus at mag -3.9, 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. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called conjunction.

November 28 - November Orionid meteor shower. The November Orionid meteor shower is active from November 13 to December 6,  producing its peak rate of meteors around 28 November. Over this period, there will be a chance of seeing November Orionid meteors whenever the shower's radiant point – in the constellation Orion – is above the horizon, with the number of visible meteors increasing the higher the radiant point is in the sky.

November 29 - Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn - 21:04 UTC. The Moon and Saturn will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 0°55' to the south of Saturn. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -10.4, and Saturn at mag 0.4, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

November 29 - Close approach of the Moon and Saturn - 21:09 UTC. The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 0°55' of each other. The Moon will be at mag -10.4, and Saturn at mag 0.4, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called conjunction.

November 30 - Conjunction of Venus and Ceres - 19:11 UTC. Venus and Ceres will share the same right ascension, with Venus passing 1°54' to the north of Ceres. Venus will be at mag -3.9, and 1 Ceres at mag 9.2, 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.

Video courtesy Hubble Space Telescope

Sources: In The Sky by Dominic Ford, NASA

Featured image credit: Hubble Space Telescope, TW

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