November skies offer a rich harvest of events to view
With great weather returning to Arizona, we have a wealth of objects that we can look forward to in our November skies.
The month begins with one of the most amazing full moon events.
Get set for the wonder of the Full Beaver Moon on the night of November 3rd. This full moon rises in the northeast sky at 5:45 p.m. MST in the constellation border of Cetus and Aries. The Full Beaver moon will be quite a sight, as it rises and dominates the night sky.
The other name that is associated with this full moon in November is the Full Frosty moon.
The moon moves along the ecliptic path and wanes until it reaches last quarter on the 10th. The moon returns to its new phase on the 18th, just in time for one of the best meteor showers of 2017; the Leonids.
Later, the moon returns to us as a newborn waxing moon until it reaches first quarter on the 26th.
The full Beaver Moon will come within 224,000 miles of the Earth, making it one of the closest of 2017.
On December 3rd, get ready for the Super Moon as it will come within 221,645 miles of the Earth. This will be the closest full moon of the year.
The full moon always excites the senses and is both a great visual sight, as well as offering a more romantic backdrop in our fall skies.
As we move on to planets, we come to another amazing event.
Don’t miss the great morning conjunction of both Venus and Jupiter which will occur in the pre-dawn skies on Monday, November 13th.
Look to the southeast sky about 90 minutes before sunrise, to see the super close conjunction of both Venus and Jupiter.
Venus is the brighter of the two objects and Jupiter is located only 0.26 degrees away from Venus. This is a great time to take images on cameras and smart phones of the close conjunction.
In a telescope, the two planets will be able to be viewed in the same field, under low power.
Venus can actually cover Jupiter or eclipse it; this is very rare.
The last time that occurred was back on January 3rd, 1818 and it will not occur again until November 22nd, 2065.
This will be one amazing line up of Venus and Jupiter.
Another major event that will occur in our November skies, will be the return of the annual Leonid meteor shower.
Each year, between November 16th and the 20th, Earth passes into the stream of particles from comet 55P/Temple-Tuttle.
During some years, we get a weak stream of particles and moonlight. This year we may get to view a decent meteor shower, with dark skies and rates of up to 15 meteors per hour.
In 1966, the Leonids produced well over half a million meteors an hour, during a brief and intense outburst, just before dawn on November 17th.
The meteors rained down rare comet debris with rates of up to 40 meteors per second.
This year may still show signs of life with the debris from this comet.
November will be a great month to get acquainted with our great Arizona skies.
To get your very own November sky map to help locate many of the objects and events listed above, click here.
- Astronomers around world working to solve fast radio burst mystery
- This weekend will be the best time to view the summer Milky Way
- Get ready for the Perseids, the best meteor shower of the year
- NASA to launch Parker Solar Probe in August; will orbit Sun for 6 years
- Check out the ‘Summer Triangle’ of bright stars this month