Events of interest for November ….
NOVEMBER – Aurora season has started – from now till around the end of March is the best time for viewing the northern lights here from the UK. Please visit our sister site AUK – Aurora UK for “real time” notifications.
1st November – NEW MOON – The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 00:11 UTC. 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. This is the first of two new moons this month.
2nd November – MOON – Waxing Crescent moon (7% lit)
3rd November – MOON – Waxing Crescent moon (13% lit) is 4° north of Venus low in the west southwest around 19:00.
4th November – MOON – Waxing Crescent moon (21% lit) should not cause too many problems with the Taurids.
4th November – METEORS – The Taurid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on 12 November 2016.The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible from a dark location is around 10 per hour (ZHR). The Moon will be 13 days old at the time of peak activity, and being so close to Full Moon, will severely limit the observations that will be possible. The radiant of the Taurid meteor shower is at around right ascension 04h00m, declination +22°, as shown by the green cross on the planetarium above. At midnight, it appears 56° above your southern horizon from Scarborough. All of the meteors will appear to be travelling directly outward from this point, as indicated by the white lines drawn above. To see the most meteors, the best place to look is not directly at the radiant itself, but at any dark patch of sky which is around 30–40° away from it. It is at a distance of around this distance from the radiant that meteors will show reasonably long trails without being too spread out. The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains left behind by Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from September 7 to December 10.
6th November – MOON – Waxing Crescent moon (38% lit)
12th November – MOON/URANUS – The Moon and Uranus will make a close approach, passing within 2°41′ of each other. From Scarborough, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming visible at around 16:29 (GMT) as the dusk sky fades, 11° above your eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 21:51, 43° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 03:42, when they sink to 8° above your western horizon. 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. 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.
14th November – MOON – FULL MOON – The Moon will reach full phase. 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. This month’s 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. Over the nights following 14 November, 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°43′ in the constellation Taurus , 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 356,000 km.
16th November – METEORS – The Leonid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on 18 November 2016. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from 15 Nov to 20 Nov. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible from a dark location is around 20 per hour (ZHR). The Moon will be 19 days old at the time of peak activity, and so will present significant interference in the pre-dawn sky. The radiant of the Leonid meteor shower is at around right ascension 10h10m, declination +22°, as shown by the green cross on the planetarium above. At midnight, it appears 13° above your eastern horizon from Scarborough. All of the meteors will appear to be travelling directly outward from this point, as indicated by the white lines drawn above. The Leonids is an average shower, producing up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak. This shower is unique in that it has a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. That last of these occurred in 2001. The Leonids is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1865. The shower runs annually from November 6-30. It peaks this year on the night of the 16th and morning of the 17th. The waning gibbous moon will block many of the fainter meteors this year, but if you are patient you should be able to catch quite a few good ones. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Leo, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
17th November – OPEN CLUSTER – 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. From Scarborough, it will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 17:14, when it rises 12° above your north-eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 23:59, 59° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight at around 06:32, 15° above your western horizon. At magnitude 1.6, M45 is visible to the naked eye, but best viewed through a pair of binoculars.
21st November – MOON – Moon is at last quarter – The Moon will reach the midpoint between full moon and new moon, when it is half illuminated. At this time of the month, it rises around midnight, and is visible in the early morning sky. From Scarborough, the Moon will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 23:53, when it rises 7° above your eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 06:03, 46° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight at around 07:15, 44° above your south-western horizon.
25th November – MOON – Waxing Crescent moon (15% lit)
25th November – MOON/JUPITER – The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 1°50′ of each other. From Scarborough, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:06 (GMT) – 4 hours and 42 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 28° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 07:20. 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.
26th November – DSOs – With just 3 days till New Moon, now is an ideal time to be observing all those Deep Sky Objects (DSOs)
29th November – MOON – NEW MOON – 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. At new moon, the Earth, Moon and Sun all lie in a roughly straight line, with the Moon in the middle, appearing in front of the Sun’s glare. In this configuration, we see almost exactly the opposite half of the Moon to that which is illuminated by the Sun, making it doubly unobservable because the side we see is almost entirely unilluminated. Over coming days, the Moon will become visible in the late afternoon and dusk sky as a waxing crescent, setting an hour later each evening. By first quarter, in a week’s time, it will be visible until around midnight.
30th November – MOON – Waxing Crescent moon (1% lit) low in the southwest just after sunset.
30th November – DWARF PLANET – The Dwarf Planet Vesta appears at its closest to the Beehive Cluster M44 for the month.
Dates highlighted in BOLD are good photographic opportunities
AIUK – Astronomy Imaging UK – https://www.facebook.com/groups/453388178104679/
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AUK – Aurora UK – https://www.facebook.com/groups/AuroraUK/
Note: Times are UK (BST) unless noted differently.