This Month’s Sky – November 2015

What’s Up in the Sky
AAA Observers’ November Guide
By Tony Faddoul

November’s Evening Planets: Saturn will be in Libra the Scales for one hour after sunset in the first half of November. Neptune is in Aquarius the Water Bearer until 1 AM and setting earlier every night until 11 PM by the end of the month. Uranus is Pisces the Fish all night. Dwarf Pluto is in Sagittarius the Archer until 8 PM and setting earlier every night.

November’s Evening Stars: Spot the Summer Triangle of Vega in Lyra the Harp, Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, and Altair in Aquila the Eagle until around 11 PM and setting earlier every night. The Winter Triangle; Sirius, the brightest star viewed from Earth in Canis Major the Great Dog, Betelgeuse in Orion the Hunter and Procyon in Canis Minor the Small Dog will be up as of 11 PM. Bright Capella in Auriga the charioteer will be up all night. Spot the stars of constellations Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Cepheus, Draco, Pegasus,  Aries, Taurus, Pisces, and the two Dippers.

November’s Morning Planets: Find bright Venus in Virgo the Virgin around 3 AM, and Mars around 2 AM until sunrise.Jupiter will be between in Leo the Lion and Virgo the Virgin until sunrise. Mercury is in Virgo the Virgin in around 6 AM the first week of the month.

November’s Morning Stars: Spot the Winter Triangle; Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Procyon until the morning. Spot Capella in Auriga the charioteer and Aldeberan in Taurus the Bull along with the stars of Leo, Gemini, Orion, Andromeda, Cassiopeia,Cepheus, Draco, Perseus, and the two Dippers.

November Skylights
Nov 3   Last Quarter Moon at 7:25 AM
Nov 7   Mars is 2° north of the Moon, pre-dawn
Nov 7   Moon at apogee (252,100 miles away)
Nov11  New Moon at 12:46  PM
Nov12  Saturn is 3° south of the Moon, after sunset
Nov 18 Leonid meteor shower peaks, pre-dawn
Nov 18 Neptune is Stationary, sunset
Nov 19 First Quarter Moon at 1:28 AM
Nov 23 Moon at perigee (225,440 miles away)
Nov 25 Full Moon at 5:45 AM
Nov 26  Moon passes .7° north of Aldebaran, pre-dawn

The Brightest Six Shine Early Morning
This November, you can spot the brightest 6 planets and stars viewed from the northern hemisphere, and from New York, before sunrise. They are all visible by naked eye.  Five of them are in the same spot of the sky. Keep in mind that the magnitude of brightness for the planets differs around the year depending on their distance from the sun and Earth.

1. Venus, the closest planet to Earth, is the brightest object we can see in the night sky after the moon. It shines at about -4.0 magnitude this November and you can see it in the early morning towards the east. Venus is the goddess of love and beauty in Roman mythology, that is Aphrodite in Greek mythology.

2. Jupiter, the largest planet in our system, shines at -1.4 and is viewed in the early hours before dawn in November toward the east. Jupiter is the king of gods in Roman mythology which is Zeus in Greek mythology.

3. Mars, The red planet, shines in our nights like a reddish star at 1.8 magnitude which is dimmer than its average of -2.0 magnitude because it’s at its farthest from the sun this November. Mars is the god of war in Roman mythology that is Ares in Greek mythology.  You can see it towards the east in for couple hours before sunrise.

4. Mercury, the closest plant to the sun, has a brightness of -0.9 magnitude as it shows at the east around 6 AM in the first week of November. Mercury is the messenger god in Roman mythology and known as Hermes in Greek mythology.

5. Sirius, the brightest star in Earth’s night sky shines at -1.4. It’s one of the closest stars to us being only 8.6 light years away. It’s ten times larger than our sun, twice as massive, and twenty times brighter. Sirius is a binary system with a white dwarf star Sirius B that is four times the size of our Earth. You can see it towards the south from 11 PM until sunrise.

6. Arcturus is viewed in at -0.1 magnitude toward the east. It is an orange giant star about 37 light years away from Earth. With almost the same mass of our Sun, Arcturus is about 17000 times larger than our sun and 150 times brighter. It is part of constellation Boötes the Herdsman and will be up for couple hours before sunrise.