By Duncan Lunan
The Moon will be New on November 4th, and Full on November 19th. The crescent Moon will be near Venus on the 7th and 8th , and the First Quarter Moon will be near Jupiter, before passing below it on the 11th. On the 19th the Full Moon will be below the Pleiades, and above to the Hyades cluster and Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus. On the same night, as the Moon sets it will be at the beginning of a total eclipse, with the path of its shadow crossing the Americas, the Pacific and central Asia.
The planet Mercury is in the morning sky, rising at 5.15 a.m. and passed by the waning Moon on the 3rd. Mercury passes close to Mars on the morning of the 10th, getting lower in the sky thereafter, disappearing by mid-month, and reaching superior conjunction beyond the Sun on the 29th.
Venus remains low in the southwest, in Sagittarius, setting at 6.30 p.m., passed by the thin crescent Moon on the 7th and still close to it on the 8th..
Mars rises at 6a.m., in Virgo, moving into Libra, and is passed by Mercury on the morning of the 10th.
There’s an opportunity this month to find Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, as it passes through the V-shaped Hyades cluster in Taurus. Ceres will be visible in binoculars as it passes Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus, on November 2nd and 3rd. Ceres will be at opposition, at its nearest to us and due south at midnight, on November 27th. That night it will be next to the star Prima Hyadum (gamma Tauri), at the tip of the V-shape.
Jupiter in Capricornus sets at 11 p.m. , and is passed by the Moon on the 11th.
Saturn, also in Capricornus, to the right of Jupiter and much fainter, sets at 9.30 p.m. and is passed by the Moon on the 10th .
Uranus in Aries is at opposition on the 5th, at its closest to us and due south at midnight. Uranus is near the Moon on the 18h.
Neptune in Aquarius sets at 1.30 am, near the Moon on the 13th.
The Leonid meteor shower peaks on the night of the 17th/18th, most frquent after midnight, but will be spoiled by moonlight.
Meetings of the Astronomers of the Future Club have resumed at 7.15 pm on the last Wednesday evening of the month, at the RSAS Barassie Works Club, 4 Shore Road, Troon KA10 6AG. On October 27th the guest was Prof. Colin McInnes of Glasgow University, talking about settlements in space, and on November 24th, the speaker will be Matjaz Vidmar of the University of Edinburgh, subject to be announced. For details of the talk contact me at email@example.com, and for details of the meeting, contact Alan Martin on 07947- 331632
Duncan Lunan’s most recent book, The Other Side of the Interface, was published by Other Side Books at the beginning of the year, and is available through Amazon or through bookshops, or from the publishers. For details and for his other books see Duncan’s website, www.duncanlunan.com.
Duncan Lunan has written a series of articles on astronomy in The Orkney News. Please use the search button if you wish to find them.