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  • Chris Baker

What's Up? - NOVEMBER 2023

Each month I highlight a few objects you can spot in the night sky without the need for optical equipment.

With the nights getting longer there is more time to observe and see some wonderful sights!

PLANETS


Mercury

Mercury is always difficult to spot given it follows the sun so closely. It will set about an hour after the sun at the end of the month and although it will be very low down - it may be worth a try!


Mercury shortly before sunset at the end of the month - looking south west

Courtesy of Stellarium


Venus

Venus is visible all month long as a morning object. It is rising 4-5 hours before the sun and shines brilliantly in the night sky.


Venus around 5am mid-month looking east. Also note the orange star Arcturus

Courtesy of Stellarium


Lunar occultation of Venus - Venus and Moon dance!

On the morning of the 9th November, the crescent Moon appears to hide Venus. Although it is during daylight it should be easy to see through binoculars and maybe possible with the naked eye. (If using binoculars make sure you never look in the direction of the sun).

On the morning of the 9th the Moon rises at 02:38.

The planet rises shortly after this and over the coming hours they move closer together.

By 5:00am they are very close - an interesting sight.

By 6:00am they will be less than 1 degree apart.

Sunrise is around 7:30am.

By 9:45 the Moon will hide Venus.

Around an hour later Venus will reappear!


Let me know if you see any of these stages of the Venus and Moon dance. All stages will look stunning, especially with it being a crescent Moon.


The Crescent Moon and Venus at 6:30am on the morning of the 9th November.

Courtesy of Stellarium


Jupiter

Jupiter puts on a dazzling display all month! Simply look east early evening onwards and the bright object is Jupiter. It also appears near the star cluster The Seven Sisters, also known as Pleiades.

If you do have binoculrs try holding them steady against a wall and seeing if you can spot a number of Jupiter's moons. You may be lucky enough to spot up to four. Let me know if you manage this for the first time.

Jupiter mid evening looking east early in the month

Courtesy of Stellarium



Jupiter close to an almost full moon on the 24th and 25th November - looking south east

Courtesy of Stellarium



Saturn

Beautiful Saturn is visible all month at reasonable altitudes for observing. It does not rise above 24 degrees so it is relatively low down on the horizon. But it's worth looking out for in particular on the 20th November as it will be close to a first quarter moon.


Saturn close to a quarter moon on the evening of the 20th -looking south

Courtesy of Stellarium


Mars

Mars is will be too difficult to spot this month

Good luck with your planet watch this month.


Leonid meteor shower

From the 6th onwards this month you will be able to spot the Leonid meteor shower- peaking on the night of the 17th November. The best time is around midnight. At their peak you can expect around 15/hour.

Fortunately the moon will be a 21% crescent on the 17th which makes viewing easier.


Where to Look

They appear to emanate from the sickle asterism (backward question mark) in the constellation of Leo. But simply look east around midnight onwards


Look in an eastly direction from around midnight best on the 17th November but try any night from the 6th.


Enjoy the night sky this month and let me know about your observations


Thank you for reading this blog and do let me know if there is anything you would like me to add to my Newsletter each month.

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