Astronomy Events – November 2013

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by yaska77

November is one of the best months for stargazing in my opinion.  It’s not so freezing your fingers fall off but the air is cold enough for good seeing conditions, it’s dark already when you get home from work so you can get your gear set up nice and early, and there’s usually quite a bit happening in the always familiar but ever changing night sky over our heads.

We had some mixed weather for October (mostly bad but the good nights we had were ruined by inconsiderate neighbours leaving their halogen garden lights on…) but as ever we hold out hope for November.

So with that in mind, for your delectation below we have itemised some astronomical awesomeness for you to ogle.  So get out there and keep watching the skies!

Friday 1st November – Planet Venus is at Greatest Eastern Elongation and will be visible low down to the SSW after sunset

Orbiting closest to the Sun, Mercury is in Inferior Conjunction today and therefore isn’t visible

If you have good binoculars or a small telescope, you should be able to locate the comet if you're up early morning (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
If you have good binoculars or a small telescope, you should be able to locate comet ISON if you’re up early morning, shown above at 03:45 UTC (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

And comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) will be below and to the left of Mars early this morning, almost forming a direct line to Regulus in the constellation Leo.  If it’s developed a tail you may be able to see it with the naked eye under dark skies

Sunday 3rd November – The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight

Today also sees the Annular Solar Eclipse which occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the dark disk of the Moon

The image above shows where the eclipse will be visible - Credit: PD-USGOV-NASA
The image above shows where the eclipse will be visible (click to enlarge) – Credit: PD-USGOV-NASA

Unfortunately it won’t be visible from the UK, but if it’s clear we’ll still break out the solar filters for a look see!

Relative positions of the Sun and Moon as seen from the UK, shown at 12:45 UTC (Click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Relative positions of the Sun and Moon as seen from the UK, shown at 12:45 UTC on Sunday 3rd November (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Wednesday 6th November – The waxing crescent Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 365,360 km (227,024 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth, and appears as a near neighbour to Venus after sunset too

Shown low to the SSW at 17:20 UTC, Venus and the crescent Moon can be seen close to each other (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Shown low to the SSW at 17:20 UTC, Venus and the crescent Moon can be seen close to each other (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

We imaged a similar close liaison in January 2012, so can give you some idea of how it will look to the naked eye (although this time the sky will be brighter)!

Comparable Moon phase and similar effect, our image of Venus and the waxing crescent Moon from January 2012 came with added Earthshine! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn
Comparable Moon phase and similar effect, our image of Venus and the waxing crescent Moon from January 2012 came with added Earthshine! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Ringed planet Saturn is also in Conjunction with the Sun today, making it unobservable until much later in the month

Sunday 10th November – This morning the Moon is seen at First Quarter phase

Tuesday 12th November – Tonight is the peak of the Northern Taurid meteor shower, with the radiant being to the south after midnight

The Moon sets soon after 02:00 on the 13th so this could be the best time to spot them!

Sunday 17th November The Full Moon in the sky this evening is also sometimes known as the Beaver Moon, White Moon or Snow Moon

Monday 18th November – Mercury is at Greatest Western Elongation today, and should be visible low down to the east before sunrise

Visible low to the east before sunrise, Mercury is followed soon after by Saturn, shown above at 06:15 UTC (click to elarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Visible low to the east before sunrise, Mercury is followed soon after by Saturn, shown above at 06:15 UTC. And comet ISON is visiting bright star Spica in Virgo (click to elarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) is also very close to Spica in the constellation Virgo, so should be easy to find in the hours before dawn

Friday 22nd November – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 405,445 km (251,932 miles), the farthest point out in its orbit around the Earth

Monday 25th November – The Moon appears at Last Quarter phase this evening

Tuesday 26th November – Early risers can look forward to a glimpse of Saturn and Mercury occupying the same camera frame this morning (if your eastern horizon is flat enough!)

A target we'd love a look at (living near the coast we can get near to a sea level flat horizon if we travel!), would be nice to have some clear evenings in November (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
A target we’d love a look at (living near the coast we can get near to a sea level flat horizon if we travel!), would be nice to have some clear evenings (and mornings) in November (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

They’ll appear over the horizon shortly before 06:00 UTC (shown above at 06:30) but the sky will be darker the earlier you can catch them.  If you get any photos we’d love you to tweet them to us!  Mercury is one of the planets we’ve yet to get a photo of!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Venus
Neptune
Uranus
Mars
Mercury
Saturn

Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!

To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! 🙂

Guide images created with Stellarium

Archive:
Astronomy Events – October 2013
Astronomy Events – September 2013
Astronomy Events – August 2013

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. platoulogy says:

    Reblogged this on jellsplatos and commented:
    Cosmotronomy

    Like

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