Astronomy events of November 2014

¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending November 1, 2014

Your best chance to see Saturn this month is during the first few evenings. The ringed planet is heading into the sunset. It will emerge from conjunction in the morning by the end of the month, but probably not far enough to see it.

Mars is traversing the teapot of Sagittarius just after sunset the first week of this month. The red planet passes by Kaus Borealis on the 4th. It’s in the teapot spout north of Nunki on the 13th. By the end of the month, Mars is leaving Sagittarius. A crescent moon passes by on the 26th and 27th.

Pisces is rising in the evening sky this month. The Hyades rises earlier in the evening by month’s end. Orion is a mid-evening riser with Gemini not far behind it.

Jupiter is below Cancer rising a little later. A last quarter moon passes the big planet on the 14th. Jupiter makes slow steady progress toward Regulus in Leo, but it doesn’t quite get there this month.

Mercury is a morning object this month. The best time to see it is on the 1st when it’s at greatest elongation 18.7┬░ west of the sun. It will pass north of Spica on the 5th and disappear into the sunrise in the days and weeks after.

Don’t confuse Spica for Venus. A thin crescent moon is next to Virgo’s bright star on the morning of the 19th. The sight will be a fair subsitute for not having a good Venus-moon conjunction because of Venus being in the sun’s glare this month. Venus is heading into the evening sky coming around the other side of the sun.

This could be an average year for the Leonids meteor shower. It peaks on the 17th and 18th. Remnants of Comet Tempel-Tuttle last produced a big show in 2001. Most years, there’s a minor show. The moon is a thin crescent for this year’s, so it won’t interfere much.

Apogee is when the moon is farthest from Earth. Perigee is when it’s closest. But apogees and perigees vary in distance from month to month. On the 15th, the moon will go through one of the closest apogees of the year at a distance of 404,400 km center-to-center. That’s a tie with the apogee that occurred on May 6. And the farthest perigee of the year occurs on the 27th with a distance of 369,800 km.

I hope you have a good view. SkyCaramba!