The Sky Above You – November 2018

By Duncan Lunan

November astronomyThe Moon will be New on November 7th, and Full on November 23rd, when it rises within the Hyades cluster in Taurus.

The planet Mercury is too near the Sun to be visible in November, and is at inferior conjunction, at its nearest to us on this side of the Sun, on the 27th.   Europe’s Bepicolombo probe to Mercury, named after the pioneer of interplanetary slingshot navigation, was launched on October 20th and is now on its way, though it will be seven years before it arrives.

Venus reappears in the dawn sky early in November, passes Spica in Virgo mid-month, and rises nearly 4 hours before the Sun by the end of November.

Mars moves from Capricornus to Aquarius and sets around 11.30 p.m., still bright but growing fainter.   The Moon is near Mars on the 15th,

Jupiter in Libra has disappeared behind the Sun.

Saturn in Sagittarius sets around 6.30 p.m., and is passed by the Moon on the 11h.

Uranus in Aries sets around 5 a.m..

Neptune in Aquarius sets about 1 a.m..  Neptune reaches its apparent ‘stationary point’ on November 25th and begins to move eastward with the general movement of the planets.

The Leonid meteor shower peaks on the night of 17th/18th November, and one of my sources  (only one, so far)  says it may be particularly active because we’re expected to cross a stream of dust from the parent comet Tempel-Tuttle.   This may be a mistake because normally they wouldn’t be expected till 2028 at the earliest.   This year the waxing gibbous Moon will spoil the seeing up to midnight, but it will have set when the meteors are usually most frequent, after 1 a.m..

November astronomy

The next meeting of the Astronomers of the Future Club will be on Thursday November 29th from 7.15 to 9 p.m. at the RSAS Barassie Works Club, 4 Shore Road, Troon, KA10 6AG.   Club Treasurer Duncan Lunan will explain his detailed work for the re-erection in November of the Sighthill stone circle, the first astronomically aligned one in Britain for 3000 years, which he designed for Glasgow Parks Department in 1978-79.   Duncan will be joined by Nick Fuller, a Trustee of the Club’s parent charity, to describe the recent success of the Glasgow Labyrinth Project.

“Starfield, science fiction by Scottish writers”, edited by Duncan Lunan, is now available from the publishers at Duncan’s recent books “Children from the Sky”, “The Stones and the Stars”, “Incoming Asteroid!” and “The Elements of Time” are available from the publishers, on Amazon or through booksellers;  details are on Duncan’s website,


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2 replies »

  1. I look forward to a potted history of the Sighthill stone circle in The Orkney News?
    And – what is the Glasgow Labyrinth Project? – sounds interesting.

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