Dark early evening skies are back with us now British Summer Time has ended, and winter is fast approaching. We’ve had little to no opportunity for much observing or photography in recent months, something we’re hoping desperately to rectify as soon as possible!
Listed below are some upcoming astronomical events with something to interest everyone, so we hope you can get out there and get stargazing.
Clear skies all…
Thursday 1st November - Today the Moon is at Apogee (the furthest point of its orbit away from the Earth) at a distance of 406,050 km (252,308 miles)
If you have clear skies and a good pair of binoculars (or a small telescope), Uranus will be visible due south at 21:30 UTC at an altitude of 40°. See below for a guide to locating this often elusive planet!
Up fairly high above the bow of the constellation Orion and close to bright star Aldebaran in Taurus, good binoculars should help you see its moons with Ganymede closest to the gas giant (see below)
Wednesday 7th November - Today is a last Quarter Moon
Friday 9th November – Io, one of the moons of Jupiter, will transit the disc of the gas giant this evening beginning at around 21:40 UTC. A great target for astrophotographers, Io will cast a dark shadow on Jupiter which looks great if you can capture it in an image
Catch it early enough in the transit too and you should also get the Great Red Spot in the same shot!
Sunday 11th November – Bright planet Venus will appear very close to the waning crescent Moon before Sunrise this morning, visible around 05:15 UTC to the east and a great target for a photo or two!
Tuesday 13th November - Today there is a new Moon which rises and sets just before the Sun, so now is a good time (especially with longer evenings!) to view deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae
Wednesday 14th November - There will be a total eclipse of the Sun today, with totality visible from northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean. The most populous city to experience totality will be Cairns, which will experience 2 minutes of totality just an hour after daybreak (06:38 AEST 14th November/20:38 UTC 13th November)
The Moon is also at Perigee (the closest point of its orbit to the Earth) at a distance of 357,360 km (222,053 miles)
Friday 16th November - The annual Leonid Meteor Shower peaks overnight this evening (actually at 09:30 UTC on 17th) but you could see between 5-15 meteors per hour as the night progresses
While it’s not expected this year’s shower will produce the high numbers of meteors seen in previous years, they should still put on a good display for a couple of days yet
And with the Moon out of the way it could be a good show!
Saturday 17th November - Mercury is in Inferior Conjunction, and won’t be visible until the end of the month when it will rise just before the Sun
Also another good evening for Leonid spotting
Tuesday 20th November - First Quarter Moon
Wednesday 28th November - Today’s Full Moon is also sometimes called Beaver Moon, Frost Moon or Hunter’s Moon, which is also at Apogee at a distance of 406,100 km (252,339 miles)
It also sees the second of two Lunar eclipses this year, in what is known as a Penumbral eclipse. This is where the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow rather than directly behind the Earth itself (which is known as an Umbral eclipse), resulting in a partial eclipse (this time visible across the Moon’s northern region)
Observers in Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, or east Asia will catch the whole event, with the US and Canada seeing it at Moonset (see above), and Europe seeing some of the partial eclipse at Moonrise
However, in the UK the Moon will rise at 15:30 UTC so with this partial eclipse only lasting just over an hour it will be very difficult to see
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
or click on Monthly Guide for the full archive