November 2017

Saturn is low in the sky, almost setting, with Sagittarius and Ophiuchus as November begins. It is lower and lower each evening as the month goes on. Around the middle of the month, you may notice an object below and right of Saturn moving leftward night to night. You have to be out not long after sunset to see it. That’s Mercury. In the last week of November, the two planets seem to pair up and ride into the sunset together. Mercury is at greatest elongation in the evening sky on the 24th, 22° from the sun.


Orion is rising late evening, but earlier each night of course. Soon, it will remind us why it is called a winter constellation.


You’ll find Mars a few hours after midnight this month, moving eastward among the stars of Virgo. A waning crescent moon is in the neighborhood on the 14th and 15th. The red planet is close to Spica by month’s end.


Venus is farther east in Virgo and disappearing into the dawn.It has a close call with Jupiter on the 13th. See them just 0.3° apart! Then Venus drops below.


Look for Leonid meteors to peak on the night of the 17th to 18th. This is not expected to be a major storm year for this shower. However, the moon is almost new and will cause little interference when it causes any at all.


The eastern United States, most of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and other lands of northern Europe are in the visibility zone for the moon passing in front of Aldebaran on the 6th.


Far northeast Russia, southwest Alaska, and the far northern Pacific are the places to be to see Regulus occulted on the 11th.


The asteroid Iris is at perihelion on the 18th. It orbits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.


Mars has its northern solstice on the 20th.


The moon is full on the 4th, at last quarter on the 10th, new on the 18th, and at first quarter on the 26th. The moon is on the equator going north on the 1st, at northern lunistice on the 8th, going south across the equator on the 14th, at southern lunistice on the 22nd, and crossing north again on the 29th. Lunar perigee this month is on the 6th, perigee on the 21st.

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