Astronomy

November Skies
Evening Planets:
Venus is still very low in the SW at Dusk. The planet is struggling to gain some altitude as the month progresses. The planet is very slowly starting move upwards a bit. This slow movement is causing the planet to move toward Jupiter. On 23 and 24 November, Venus will be just below Jupiter. After those dates, Venus will very slowly move away from Jupiter and to its upper left.
Jupiter is losing altitude fast each evening. The planet is getting lower in the SW and moving toward Venus. On 23 and 24 November, the planet has a close conjunction with Venus. After the conjunction, Jupiter moves away from Venus and towards the setting Sun.
Saturn is up in the SSW at Dusk. This planet is also slowly losing altitude as the month progresses. The loss of altitude is slowly causing Saturn to move towards Venus. Next month Saturn will have a conjunction with Venus.

Morning Planets:
Mars rises in the SE before Dawn breaks. The dull dim planet struggles to gain some altitude as the month progresses. The planet is to the upper left of the bright star Spica for the first half of the month. By the end of the month, Mars manages to rise just before Dawn breaks.
Mercury makes an appearance in the morning sky. The planet should be visible low in the SE by 19th of November. Each morning, Mercury is gaining some altitude. On 28 November, Mercury reaches its maximum altitude for this morning showing. The planet should rise about 1 ¼ hours before Sunrise. It will hold that altitude position until the end of the month.

1 Nov Waxing Crescent Moon lower right of Saturn, Dusk
11 Nov Mercury Transit
13 Nov Just past Full Moon near bright star Aldebaran, Evening
16 Nov Waning Gibbous Moon lower right of bright star Pollux, Late Evening
16-17 Nov Leonids Meteor Shower
20 Nov Moon left of bright star Regulus, Dawn
24 Nov Crescent Moon upper left of Mars, Dawn
23 – 24 Nov Venus / Jupiter Conjunction, Dusk
28 Nov Thin Crescent Moon above Venus, Dusk
29 Nov Crescent Moon just left of Saturn, Dusk

Venus – Jupiter Conjunction:
In the early evening of 23 and 24 November, Venus will have the close approach or conjunction with the planet Jupiter. Venus will be the brightest of the two planets. Unfortunately, this event is not that well placed for our viewing area. Both Jupiter and Venus are low near the SW horizon during the conjunction. The conjunction will be in the twilight. Both planets will set within 1 ½ hours after Sunset. Four days after the conjunction, Venus will be in its Southernly or lowest position of the year. Venus is also at its farthest position from the Sun and Earth for the year. It may be difficult to see this conjunction.

Leonids Meteor Shower:
On the night of November 16-17, the Leonids Meteor Shower is predicted to peak. Unfortunately, the bright waning Gibbous Moon rises about 1 hour after evening darkness falls. The Moon will ruin the view of the meteor shower for the rest of the night.

Transit of Mercury:
On Monday morning, 11 November, the small Planet Mercury will move across or transit the disk of the Sun. The entire transit will be visible from our area.
Never look at the Sun without proper, safe solar viewing equipment and techniques. A momentary glimpse of the Sun without proper, safe solar viewing equipment can cause serious permeant eye injury or blindness. Do not look at the Sun without proper safe solar viewing equipment and techniques.
Transit Time Table: (EST)
Transit Begins: 07:35 am
Transit Midpoint: 10:19 am
Transit Ends: 01:04 pm
Mercury is a small planet and appears as a tiny black dot against the Sun’s disk. The planet is so small that only a telescope with special safe solar viewing equipment will be able to see the tiny black dot. The tiny black disk of Mercury will take about 5 ½ hours to move across the face of the Sun. This event is favorable for our viewing area for folks who have proper, safe solar viewing telescopes. The next Mercury Transit will be in 2049 or 30 years from now.

Gary T. Nowak
Vermont Astronomical Society