This Month’s Sky – November 2016

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

November’s Evening Planets: Mars will be between Sagittarius the Archer and Capricornus the Sea Goat until 9PM this month. Saturn will be in Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer for about one hour after sunset during the first half of November. Bright Venus will be in Sagittarius for about one hour after sunset. Mercury will be in Ophiuchus for about one hour after sunset in the second half of the month. Uranus will be in Pisces the Fish and Neptune in Aquarius the WaterBearer.

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 midnight, setting earlier every night. The Winter Triangle of 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 beginning at 11 PM. Bright Capella in Auriga the Charioteer will be up all night. See the stars of constellations Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Cepheus, Draco, Pegasus, Aries, Taurus, Pisces, and Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (the Big and Little Dippers).

November’s Morning Planets: Uranus will be in Pisces until 4 AM, setting earlier each night until 2 AM by  the end of the month. Jupiter will be in Virgo the Maiden around 4 AM, rising earlier each night until 2 AM by the end of November.

November’s Morning Stars: Sirius will be up until the start of the morning in Canis Major. Spot Capella in Auriga, Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull, Betelgeuse and Rigel in Orion, and the stars of Aries, Gemini, Orion, Pisces, Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Draco, Cepheus, Perseus, Leo, and the two Dippers.

November Skylights

Nov 7 First Quarter Moon at 2:50 AM
Nov 14 Moon at perigee (222,000 miles away)
Nov 14 Full Moon at 8:50 AM (largest Super moon of 2016)
Nov 18 Leonid Meteor Shower peaks – predawn
Nov 21 Last quarter moon at 3:33 AM
Nov 24 Moon is 2° north of Jupiter (Dawn)
Nov 27 Moon at apogee (252,600 miles away)
Nov 29 New Moon at 7:18 AM

Times given in EDT.

Largest Super Moon Since 1948

On November 14th,the Moon will be, full, bright, and the center of attention around the globe.
On November 14, Earth’s Moon will be full, bright, and the center of attention around the globe appearing at its largest in our sky since 1948.

What is a super moon?
The Moon circles the Earth in an elliptical orbit, which means that its distance from us varies. A Supermoon occurs when the Moon is full and at its closest to Earth. At these times, it appears larger in our sky. While “Supermoon” is not an astronomical term, it has been used widely over the past few decades. The technical term for this alignment of the Earth-Moon-Sun system is perigee-syzygy.

Is it really bigger?
On the 14th, the Full Moon will be at its closest to Earth, or perigee, at 221,524 miles away. That’s about 30,000 miles closer than when the Moon is at its furthest distance this year, or apogee. Distance is measured from the Moon’s center to Earth’s center, but if we measured from where we stand to the surface of the Moon, the distance will be just 216,480 miles. The Moon will appear 7% larger than it appears on average, a difference that is not very distinguishable for the human eye.

Is it a rare coincidence?
It is normal for the Moon to be at its closest to Earth around the full phase. The special part is that since January of 1948 the Moon has not been that close to Earth and it will not be again until November of 2034. This practically makes this supermoon the closest in 86 years.

When is the best time to see the supermoon?
The best view of the Supermoon is at nightfall on Monday, November 14, when the Moon also rises. It will seem bigger when it is closer to the horizon and to landscape objects. A good view can also be had on the Sunday and Tuesday evenings before and after the Supermoon phase, when the Moon will appear almost full and with only 2% less illumination.

How does that affect everyone’s life?
The Supermoon can be found in the constellation Aries on Nov 14 and in Taurus on Nov 15 – so what does that mean? Not a thing. It actually does not change anything in anyone’s life regardless of when and where you were born. However, the proximity of the Supermoon to Earth will produce higher tides than usual, with the highest tide on Nov 15. Otherwise, the Supermoon’s only influence on Earthlings is a treat to a beautiful sight in the night sky.

Astronomy Magazine