It’s amazing how much turning the clocks back by just one hour can make the world of difference, as we did in the UK recently when British Summer Time officially came to an end. Almost instantly you feel the change from summer to winter, even if temperatures haven’t yet started to plummet, and many of you will be anticipating the warmth of spring already.
But not your average astronomer. Our particular breed sees a cold night giving great “seeing” conditions and the longer hours of darkness as an opportunity to cram in more astral ogling. There we are stood in the cold and the dark to the bemusement of neighbours, all because of the passion we share.
It’s a passion that must hold at least a partial interest to you too, otherwise you’d not be here, so as part of our ongoing drive to get us all out appreciating the most spectacular of free shows more often, below we’ve listed some upcoming interesting events of the night sky persuasion for your delectation.
Keep watching the skies…
Saturday 1st November – Inner planet Mercury is at Greatest Western Elongation today, so you may spot it low down towards the East soon before sunrise
Monday 3rd November - The Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 367,870 km (228,584 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth
Tuesday 4th November - The often difficult to find planet Uranus passes very near to the Moon this evening soon after nightfall
From our location (and with the light pollution we have) spotting Uranus has been a bit of a losing battle to say the least, but perhaps if the weather is kind we might be able to catch it in an image and get a “two for one” deal!
Thursday 6th November - The November Full Moon seen this evening is sometimes known as the Beaver Moon, Dark Moon or Snow Moon
Friday 14th November - This afternoon our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase, and tonight it forms a triangle with Jupiter and bright star Regulus which is part of the constellation Leo (shown below at 01:30 UTC on 15th November)
Saturday 15th November – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 404,585 km (251,398 miles) the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth this month
Sunday 16th November - To help identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in November (shown as seen at 00:00 UTC on 16th November)
Tuesday 18th November - The annual Leonid meteor shower peaks at around 01:00 UTC this morning, so look towards the east after midnight. The ZHR is expected to be around 10-15 meteors per hour but frankly any meteor shower is worth craning your neck for!
And today Saturn is in conjunction with the sun, so is currently unobservable until the end of the month
Saturday 22nd 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
Winter sky favourite Orion is now making an appearance earlier in the evening, and if you’ve got some good binoculars or a telescope give M42 the Orion Nebula a look midway down the “sword” on Orion’s belt. We’ve imaged it a couple of times and will snap it again, it’s just one of those things that keeps drawing you back!
Wednesday 26th November – The waxing crescent Moon can be seen just above Mars after sunset this evening. Look low down to the SSE after nightfall
Thursday 27th November - Today the Moon is at Perigee for the second time this month, this time at a distance of 369,825 km (229,799 miles)
Saturday 29th November - This morning the Moon can be seen at First Quarter phase
As usual, if you take any photos throughout November you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!
Planets visible this month:
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