Here is a quick look at what’s happening astronomically in November 2012. Mark your calendars.
Last Quarter Moon: November 6 (morning sky)
New Moon: November 13
First Quarter Moon: November 20
Full Moon: November 28
At sunset: Mercury (look west) (very difficult to see in the glare of the sunset).
Early Evening: Mars (look west), Jupiter (look east after 8pm)
Morning before sunrise: Venus (look east), Saturn (look east) will be visible mid month in the east just before the rising sun) Mercury (look east) will be visible just before sunrise starting around the November 23.
November 21: The Sun enters the astrological sign Sagittarius
November 22: The Sun enters the astronomical constellation Scorpius. (Note the Sun spends only seven days in Scorpius)
November 29: The Sun enters the astronomical constellation Ophiuchus. Ophiuchus is often called the thirteen “sign” of the Zodiac not being one of the traditional twelve astrological signs or houses. “Astronomically” astronomers place absolutely no significance to this event other than to say the Sun’s apparent motion moved it into this area of the sky. “Astrologically” some astrologers do count it as an astrological sign. If you want to learn more check it out here.
November 4: The United States returns to standard time.
November 1- 11: Taurids are predicted to produce several fireballs as they did in 2008.
November 17: The Loenids, a sometimes large shower, if favorable this year. No enhanced activity is expected.
November 1: Jupiter and the Moon rise together (conjunction) in the east. Start looking after 8:30 pm. The pair will be up all night. This will be a spectacular sight. The bright star Aldebaran in Taurus the bull will be to the right of the pair. The Moon will actually pass in from of Jupiter (occultation) for observers in South Africa.
November 24-30: Venus and Saturn will appear very close to each other in the pre-dawn sky. They will be closest on November 27 (about a moon’s diameter). If you have the time you to watch during the six day period you can observing Venus approach and pass Saturn. If you have never seen the planets move this would be a excellent time to observe it. The pair rises around 5am in the east. Best time to view will after 5:30am. Mercury rises about 5:45am below Venus and Saturn. All can be best viewed close to 6am from a sight with an unobstructed view of the eastern horizon.
November 28: Jupiter and the full moon will be very close (about one Moon diameter). Both will be easily visible in the east just after sunset and all night long.
November 4, 2010 the Deep Impact spacecraft makes a flyby of Comet Hartley II. Comet Hartley II was the fifth and smallest comet to be visited by a spacecraft.
November 5, 1992 the Dutch astronomer Jan Oort dies at 92. He is most famous for his hypothesis on the origins of comets from the Oort Cloud. Among his other accomplishments was determining the mass of the Milky Way to be100 billion suns. He determined the distance to the center of the Milky Way to be 19,200 million light years and was the first to find evidence of dark matter.
November 8, 1656 Edmond Halley is born. Halley is most famous for predicting the return of what is now called Halley’s Comet. He had many other accomplishments. He is considered the greatest scientific mind of his time only behind Isaac Newton.
Wishing you clear skies