By Duncan Lunan
The Moon will be Full on November 12th and will be New on November 26th. It will pass through the Hyades Open Cluster in Taurus on the night of 13th/14th November, and it will pass through the Praesepe cluster in Cancer on the morning of the 22nd.
On 11th November the planet Mercury transits the face of the Sun, starting at 12.35 p.m. (GMT/UT), and still in progress at sunset. The event is not visible to the naked eye, so DO NOT stare at the Sun, NOR look at it directly with any optical aid – look up how to project the image of the Sun in safety AND STICK TO IT.
Mercury reappears in the morning sky around November 18th, passed by the Moon on November 25th, and reaches greatest elongation on the 28th, rising about 5.45 a.m. by the end of the month.
Venus is low in the evening sky and sets about 5 p.m., near Jupiter on November 24th, with the crescent Moon between it and Jupiter on the 28th.
Mars rises about 5 a.m. in November, crossing the constellation Virgo and passing Spica, the brightest star in Virgo, on November 10th.The Moon appears near Mars on November 24th, and Mars is above and to the right of Mercury on the 28th
Jupiter in Ophiucus sets around 6.30 p.m. in November, near Venus on the 24th with the Moon passing them on the 28th. That morning, Jupiter is occulted by the Moon at 11 a.m., shortly before moonrise in the UK, and it will reappear at the bright limb of the Moon as it rises. Jupiter disappears into the twilight by the end of the month as it nears conjunction with the Sun in December.
Saturn in Sagittarius sets about 7.30 p.m. in November, and is soon to disappear. The Moon is near Saturn on November 2nd and 29th.
Uranus in Aries passed opposition on October 28th, and is moving westward among the stars as the Earth draws ahead of it.
Neptune in Aquarius sets at about 1 a.m. in November, around midnight by the end of the month, and reaches the ‘stationary point’ where its motion against the stars appears to reverse as the Earth pulls ahead of it, on the 27th.
Taurid meteors can be seen throughout November, peaking on November 5/6th and 12/13th (two streams), along with occasional meteors from the Leonid shower which peaks on November 17/18th. As the Leonid shower has a 33-year cycle, last peaking in 1999-2002, no major activity is expected this year – just as well, because both showers will be spoiled by moonlight.
At the Astronomers of the Future Club meeting on Thursday November 28th the guest speaker will be Robert Law of the Mills Observatory in Dundee, on his latest visit to Kennedy Space Centre and current space developments. The meeting will be from 19:15 to 21:00 hrs at the RSAS Barassie Works Club, 4 Shore Road, Troon, KA10 6AG. For more details, contact Alan Martin on 07947 331632.
Duncan Lunan’s new book “From the Moon to the Stars”, a collection of space travel stories old and new relating to the Moon and Project Apollo, is now available from the publishers at https://othersidebooks.wordpress.com, as well as on Amazon or through booksellers; details of that and his other books are on Duncan’s website, www.duncanlunan.com.