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Brian Carter: The Night Sky In November

CARTER OBSERVATORY
THE NATIONAL OBSERVATORY OF NEW ZEALAND

THE NIGHT SKY


Brian Carter*

THE NOVEMBER NIGHT SKY

In the Summer months with warmer nights, looking at the stars and planets becomes a pleasure, instead of a cold ordeal.

Planets

November is a fairly good month for viewing the planets. Venus, Mars and Saturn will be visible for the whole of the month. Mercury will be visible for the first half of the month and Jupiter will be visible for the last half of the month.

Mercury will be visible for the first half of November. At the start of the month it sets at 22:09, by November 19 at 21:24 (an hour after Sunset) and by November 25 it sets at the same time as the Sun. Mercury starts the month in the constellation of Scorpius, moving into Ophiuchus on November 8, back into Scorpius on November 21 and finally into Libra on November 25. Its magnitude rapidly fades from ¡V0.2 to 1.9 by November 19 and to 5.3 by November 25.

Venus can be seen in the evening sky. At the start of the month it sets at 00:09 and by the end of the month at 23:58. Venus starts the month in the constellation of Ophiuchus, moving into Sagittarius on November 2. Its magnitude slightly brightens from ¡V4.4 to ¡V4.6, making it easier to see in the evening twilight as the ¡§Evening Star¡¨.

Mars will be visible for all of the night except for the very end towards the latter part of the month. By November 9 Mars sets at Sunrise and by the end of the month at 04:20. Mars is in the constellation of Aries, in which it remains until 2006 February. It starts the month at its brightest magnitude for the year of ¡V2.3 (outshining Jupiter) and fades to ¡V1.7 by month¡¦s end.

Saturn will be visible for the last third of the night. At the start of November it rises at 02:38 and at 00:45 by month¡¦s end. Saturn is in the constellation of Cancer, in which it remains until September 2006. Its magnitude slightly brightens from 0.3 to 0.2 during the month.

Jupiter will be visible for the last half of November. By November 21 it rise at 04:49 (an hour before Sunrise) and by the end of the month at 04:18. Jupiter is in the constellation of Virgo. Its magnitude is a constant ¡V1.7 during the month.

All times are for Wellington unless otherwise stated. Other centres may vary by a few minutes.

Phases of the Moon


Click for big version

Diary of Astronomical Phenomena

Nov 2 New Moon at 14:25.
4 Mercury at greatest Easterly elongation from the Sun (24„a) at 05:00.
4 Venus at greatest Easterly elongation from the Sun (47„a) at 08:00.
4 Moon close to Antares in the early evening twilight.
7 Mars at opposition (on the opposite side of the Earth to the Sun) at 21:00.
9 & 10 Mercury close to Antares in the evening twilight.
10 Moon at perigee (closest to the Earth) at 13:00. (Distance = 0.0024734 AU = 370,015 km).
14 Mercury stationary against the background stars at 22:00, as its motion changes from an Easterly to a Westerly direction.
16 Full Moon at 13:57.
18 Mercury close to Antares in the evening twilight.
23 Saturn stationary against the background stars at 07:00, as its motion changes from an Easterly to a Westerly direction.
23 Moon at apogee (furthest from the Earth) at 19:00 (Distance = 0.0027030 AU = 404,360 km).
25 Mercury in inferior conjunction (between the Sun and the Earth) at 05:00.


NOVEMBER SKY CHART

This chart shows the sky as it appears at about 22:00 for November.


Click for big version

How To Use the Sky Charts

To use the sky chart hold it up to the sky so that the direction in which you are looking is at the lower edge of the map. For example, if you are looking at the western horizon then the map should be held so that the ¡§WEST¡¨ label is at the lower edge. The altitude and direction of the stars and planets will then be correctly shown. The centre of the chart will be directly overhead.

*************

* Brian Carter is the Senior Astronomer at Carter Observatory (The National Observatory of New Zealand), PO Box 2909, Wellington. (Email: Brian.Carter@Carterobs.ac.nz , Observatory Web Site: www.CarterObservatory.org )

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