Our November evenings start with Saturn close to the meridian and Jupiter risen already well above the horizon at sunset. Uranus is rising when darkness begins. Mars rises mid-evening. It’s a little brighter and left of Aldebaran rising at about the same time. Aldebaran leads one leg of a V-shaped asterism called the Hyades, in case you need help figuring out which is which. Orion and Gemini rise late evening. Look for Leo in the mid-morning darkness. Arcturus is up before dawn. Mercury and Venus aren’t visible yet. They’re too close to the sun. Mercury is in superior conjunction on the 8th. Venus went through superior conjunction last month.
When you do see the two innermost planets this month, it will be later in the month. Best viewing is from around 5 degrees south latitude. Even from there, the planets will be low in the evening sunset light. It’ll take until December for them to emerge sufficiently from solar conjunction for easier viewing. Mercury’s in the lead at the end of November, but Venus will catch up to it for a close pairing after Christmas. But certainly, look at them this month if you can.
Saturn’s moving eastward in the eastern part of Capricornus The moon is just past first quarter on the 1st when it’s near the ringed planet. The moon’s a waxing crescent when it passes by Saturn again from the 28th to 29th.
A waxing gibbous moon is close to Jupiter on the 4th. Jupiter is retrograde the first half of the month. It’s stationary from about the 16th to about the 2nd of December.
The moon is full on the 8th. It’ll pass through Earth’s shadow for a total lunar eclipse lasting an hour and 25 minutes. The penumbral phase begins at 08:02 Universal Time. Partial phase starts at 09:09. Totality is from 10:16 to 11:41. Partial phase ends at 12:49. And the penumbral phase ends at 13:56. For most of the Americas, this eclipse happens during moonset. The entire event is visible from western North America, most of the Pacific, and northeast Asia. A sliver of the eastern Australian coast will see all of it too, but it’s a moonrise event for most of the continent. Most of Asia and the northern and eastern parts of Europe also see the eclipse during moonrise. It’s out of view for western Europe and all of Africa.
Uranus is a little east of the moon during the eclipse. The planet’s at opposition on the 9th, approximately 18.7 astronomical units or 2,795 million km from us. The moon’s proximity doesn’t help us see it at opposition. It’s possible, but tricky. You’ll need magnification. But look for Uranus during the eclipse. The moon’s never completely dark during a total eclipse, but it’ll be dark enough to make a big difference. The moon will be close to the Pleiades during the eclipse and on the 9th.
See this eclipse if you can. The next one won’t happen until March 2025.
Mars starts the month almost stationary in the easternmost region of Taurus. It’s soon clearly retrograde on a course that will eventually take it back by the Hyades. A past full moon goes by the red planet on the 10th and 11th.
Moon phases this month: first quarter on the 1st at 06:38 UT, full on the 8th at 11:03, last quarter on the 16th at 13:28, new on the 23rd at 22:58, last quarter on the 30th at 14:37.
The moon crosses the equator going north on the 5th, is at northern lunistice at 27.5 degrees on the 12th, goes south of the equator on the 20th, and reaches southern lunistice at 27.5 degrees on the 26th.
Lunar apogee is on the 14th at 404,800 km distance. Perigee is on the 26th at 362,800 km.
Mercury will be at aphelion on the 19th at 0.467 a.u. or 69.9 million km from the sun.
The Leonid meteor shower can be seen nearly all month. Its peak is November 17th and 18th. The meteors you see from such a shower can be caused by comet dust left behind hundreds of years ago. Leonids come from Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. The American Meteor Society says Earth could pass through a trail left in1600 at 7 hours UT on the 18th, a trail left in 1733 at about 6 hours Universal Time on the 19th, and a trail from 1800 at 15 hours UT on the 21st. The 1733 trail may spawn the most meteors. As the moon is between last quarter and new, its light will interfere with the viewing a little.