NOVEMBER SKY HIGHLIGHTS
Saturn is up in the South as evening darkness fades. The planet loses some brightness as the month progresses. The planet is best seen in the early evening. By midmonth, Saturn is setting before Midnight.
Jupiter has none of the problems that Saturn has. Jupiter is in an excellent position this month and is the prominent planet of the evening sky. On the 3rd of November, Jupiter is closest to Earth for the year and at his brightest for the year. The planet rises in the East during early evening twilight and is visible all night long. Jupiter puts on a fine evening showing this month.
Mercury returns to the evening sky for a short poor appearance. Mercury should be visible in the bright SW twilight in the 3rd week of the month. The planet very low position in the bright SW twilight makes it difficult to see. Mercury gains a slight amount of altitude and on the 27th November is at his highest altitude for this evening showing. Even at its highest altitude, the planet will still be hard to see.
Venus is the only bright morning planet. This planet puts on a good showing in the Pre-Dawn ESE skies. The planet will hold on to its approximate altitude for the rest of the month. Venus will have a very close approach to the Crescent Moon on the morning of the 9 November.
3 Nov Moon and bright stars Castor and Pollux form a triangle, Dawn
5-6 Nov South Taurids Minor Meteor Shower
9 Nov Venus just above the Crescent Moon, Dawn (Best Venus – Moon Conjunction for the rest of the year.)
12-13 Nov Northern Taurids Minor Meteor Shower
17-18 Nov Leonids Meteor Shower
24 Nov Waxing Gibbous Moon upper right of Jupiter, Dusk
25 Nov Waxing Gibbous Moon lower left of Jupiter, Dusk
30 Nov Venus left of Bright Star Spica, Dawn
Jupiter puts on a fine evening show this month. The planet is well placed for late evening observing. Binoculars will show Jupiter’s 4 brightest moons. However, you will need a good telescope to see details in Jupiter’s cloud belts. This evening showing of Jupiter is very favorable for our viewing area.
November’s Three Meteor Showers:
Southern Taurids Minor Meteor Shower:
This minor meteor shower happens on the night of 5 -6 November. The Last Quarter Moon rises around 11:30 pm and interferes with morning meteor watching. Only the evening sky is Moon free for observing these meteors. The weak Southern Taurids Minor Meteor Shower is predicted to produce 5 meteors per hour. Occasionally this minor meteor shower can produce slow colorful fireballs.
Northern Taurid Minor Meteor Shower:
This other Taurid Minor Meteor Shower will happen on the night of 12-13 November. This meteor shower will happen on the night of the New Moon so there will be no lunar interference. About 7 meteors per hour are predicted for this shower. Not to be outdone by its earlier cousin; the Northern Taurid Minor Meteor shower can also occasionally produce slow colorful fireballs too.
Leonids Meteor Shower:
The strongest of the 3 November meteor showers will happen on the night of 17 -18 November. The 4-day old Waxing Crescent Moon will set around 8 pm; leaving the rest of the night sky moon free. About 15 meteors per hour are predicted in the Pre- Dawn skies. The Leonids are known to produce fast white colored meteors. All 3 of these November Meteor Showers are favorable for our viewing area.
Gary T. Nowak
Vermont Astronomical Society