Here’s what’s coming up in the skies in November:
By nightfall, outer planets, visible in telescopes, are dim blue Neptune, in Aquarius, high in the southwest and blue-green Uranus, in the south in Pisces, Fish. Fomalhaut twinkles below Neptune. Grus, Crane, stretches its starry neck above the southern horizon. Silver Saturn lingers atop the head of huge Scorpius crawling along the southwestern horizon. They set by nightfall.
Saturn will drift around the sun and appear in the morning sky by the end of this year. The tilted Sagittarian Teapot shimmers above Scorpius. The stellar Teaspoon lies above the handle of the Teapot. Pluto hides in outer space near the Teaspoon. Capricornus, Sea Goat, plods across the southwest. Phoenix (bird) lifts onto the south-southeastern horizon. Cetus, Whale, swims across the southeast. Mira, a variable star, flickers on and off from the back of the Whale.
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Summer constellations sink low in the west. Hercules leads bright Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle westward. Lyra contains two pairs of double stars. Cygnus, Swan, soars within the Triangle. The eye of the Swan is a colorful double star, visible in binoculars. Later this month, the Swan dips to become the Northern Cross.
The Big Dipper pivots around Polaris, North Star, and lies on the northern horizon obscured from our southern latitude. The Royal Family reigns in the north: King Cepheus, W-shaped Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda with our closest galaxy and Perseus, Hero.
Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, higher in the northeast. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus (Winged Horse) to the Zenith. The favorite winter star clusters: the delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, Bull, higher in the east. Ruddy Aldebaran (red giant) is the Bull’s red eye in the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). Spectacular views in binoculars! The Gemini Twins peer over the northeastern horizon. Orion, Hunter, snoozes on the eastern horizon.
Nov. 3: Final views of Saturn low in the southwest.
Nov. 11: New Moon occurs 12:47 p.m. Northern Taurid Meteors, remnants of Comet Encke, cruise into our atmosphere at 60,000 mph for several nights.
Nov. 12: The young crescent moon floats 2 degrees from Saturn near the southwestern horizon. They set by nightfall.
Nov. 14: Aim binoculars to the dark Earthshine on the crescent moon near the tilted Sagittarian Teapot in the southwest.
Nov. 17-18: A subdued annual Leonid Meteor Shower may produce a few early Leonids by midnight, radiating from the east.
Nov. 19: By nightfall, the moon floats near Neptune in the southwest.
Nov. 25: A Thanksgiving Moon is full at 5:44 p.m. The bright moon rises in the east in Taurus at dusk.
Four planets align in the eastern morning sky:
Nov. 1: Bright golden Jupiter at the top in Leo, Lion. Ruddy Mars and white-hot Venus, Morning “Star,” dance together 5 degrees below Jupiter. They remain about 1 degree apart until Thursday. Descending Mercury hugs the eastern horizon. The star Spica rises in Virgo to the upper right of Mercury. Corvus, Crow, flies above them.
Nov. 3: Taurid Meteors may be visible until mid-month. Mars and Venus closest at 0.7 degree apart in the east.
Nov. 6: Before dawn, the waning moon rises 3 degrees from Jupiter.
Nov. 7: Aim binoculars/telescopes to the celestial trio. The waning crescent moon snuggles with Venus. Dim Mars lies 2 degrees above them. Jupiter glows 9 degrees above the trio. Spectacular view!
Nov. 9: Before dawn, the old moon rises in the southeast near Spica in Virgo. Bright Arcturus rises in the northeast.
Nov. 17-18: The Annual Leonid Meteor Shower may produce 15 meteors per hour and a few fireballs in the predawn radiating from Leo, Lion, in the east. They zip into our atmosphere at 44 miles per second as Earth glides through the dust tail of Comet Tempel-Tuttle in a moonless sky.
Nov. 19: The First Quarter Moon occurs at 1:27 a.m.
Nov. 26: The bright full moon nudges Aldebaran (red giant star) in the Hyades cluster in Taurus.
Nov. 30: Before dawn, Venus and Spica lie 4 degrees apart in the east. Dim Comet Catalina, at 5th magnitude may be visible in telescopes low in the southeast near the Virgo/Libra border.
The Royal Family swings into the northwest. Capella steers Auriga, Charioteer, across the north. Leo, Lion, climbs higher in the east. Arcturus sparkles in the northeast. Corvus, Crow, leads Spica, Spring Maiden, above the southeastern horizon.
The Beehive cluster follows the Gemini Twins: Castor and Pollux toward the Zenith. Orion, Hunter, strides into the southwest in pursuit of the Bull in the west. Overhead Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog in the south. Canopus radiates rainbow colors from the ancient ship Argo low in the south. Pegasus, Winged Horse, slides lower in the west .
Check Spaceweather.com daily for superb photos of Arctic auroras and solar blasts as well as the Space Station flyby schedule.
Barb Yager: 305-661-1375, scas.org
Kidz Astro Night
The Southern Cross Astronomical Society hosts Kidz Astro Night from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 20 at Miami-Dade’s Bill Sadowski Park at Southwest 176th Street and 79th Avenue in Palmetto Bay. Bring your own picnic for a campfire. The astros will host a program inside and a star park on the deck.