¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week of November 1 to 7, 2015
In November, the Jupiter, Mars, and Venus morning show is coming to a conclusion. Venus and Mars are closest to each other on the 3rd. The moon joins the party a few days later. Just past last quarter, it will visit Regulus on the 5th, Jupiter on the 6th, Venus and Mars on the 7th, Porrima on the 8th, and Spica on the 9th. It will be thinner each morning until it is a very thin crescent.
The Northern Taurids meteor shower peaks on the 11th and 12th. The moon will be new, so it won’t interfere with viewing 5 to 10 meteors per hour. The best viewing time is around midnight. If you see a meteor that seems to trace back to a spot near the Pleiades, it’s very likely a Northern Taurid.
The Leonids meteor shower peaks the following week on the 17th and 18th. Best viewing is after midnight. Leo, the constellation the meteors seem to come from, rises in the morning. And the moon, just a little before first quarter, will have set by then.
Saturn isn’t up for long in the evening sky. It’s heading into the sunset and will be in conjunction with the sun on the 30th. A very thin crescent moon passes by the ringed planet on the 13th.
Mercury is on the other side of the sun on the 17th.
Mars is at aphelion (farthest from the sun) on the 20th.
Venus is at perihelion (closest to the sun) on the 29th.
On November 15, Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) will pass closest to the sun at about 0.82 astronomical units (earth-sun distances) from the sun. Before something nudged it toward the sun, it took millions of years to orbit. After its close encounter this month, it will be thrown out of the solar system. The comet is getting closer to Earth and will be closest to us in January. It’s possible that northern hemisphere viewers will see it with the naked eye.