Night sky in November Highlights

Moon Phases

Nov 7              New Moon

Nov 15            First quarter

Nov 23            Full Moon

Nov 3 0           Last quarter

Planets  (all times are Local Spanish time)

Mercury:-  Not really observable this month from Spain. It reaches its greatest elongation east on the 6th November, but is so low that it’s best seen from the Southern hemisphere.

Venus:-  Only recently passed in front of the Sun, so now is an early morning object. At the start of the month, it is still too close to the Sun to be properly observed, but by the 14th November Venus rises about 5:30 a.m. (just over 2 hours before the Sun ) when it will create a bright double with Spica (the brightest star in Virgo) being only 1º away. On Friday 30th November Venus will be at its brightest, rising at 4:40 a.m. in the morning, it will rise to an elevation of 29º above the south-eastern horizon before the dawn sky brightens around 7:40 a.m.

Mars:– At the beginning of the month this is visible about 30º above the south-eastern horizon after sunset, rising to 35º in the south before moving to low down in the west by midnight. By the end of the month it will have moved so that at sunset it will appear higher (40º) above the southern horizon shortly after sunset, but will set near midnight.

Jupiter:- Will soon pass behind the Sun and is too close to be properly observed this month.

Saturn:- Will be briefly visible in the early evening sky. It will be over the south-western horizon just after sunset but will set about 3 and a half hours after the Sun at the start of the month, but by the end of November it will set about 2 hours after the Sun

Uranus:- Uranus was at closest to Earth on 24 October when it was just under 19 AU away with a magnitude of  5.7, its disk only being 3.7 arcsec in diameter. It will be visible all month being 20º to 35º over the eastern horizon at sunset, rising in the sky and should be observable until at least 3:00 a.m. when it will be moving lower over the western horizon.

Neptune:-Is an evening object, appearing about 40º above the southern horizon at sunset, and remains observable till just after midnight.

Meteor Showers

The main shower this month will be the Leonids (from debris left by the comet Tempel-Tuttle), and peaks on the night between the 17th & 18th of November. It is expected there will only be about 15 or so meteors an hour, and while they may be seen any-time that night, their source (in Leo) will be highest in the sky an hour or 2 before the dawn on Sunday….By which time the moon will have set.

The Taurids meteor shower extends from 20th October through to 20th November. These result from the debris of comet Encke, but have become so spread out that meteors from it may be seen for a whole month, and has now been named in two segments:- The South Taurids which peak around the 4th November, and the North Taurids whose peak activity is around the 11th November. Although even at their peak there are perhaps only 10 meteors an hour, coming from the direction of Taurus which, in the evening, will be the Eastern part of the sky


There are also a couple of comets, neither naked eye objects yet, but may be visible with binoculars. Both will be better placed nearer the end of the month and are slowly increasing in brightness.

38P/ Stephan-Oterma

Having now moved into the constellation Gemini. Becoming easier to observe as the month progresses, but unlikely to be much brighter than magnitude 9, but should be visible with binoculars, look for a fuzzy star, no obvious tail…so far.

It doesn’t rise until 10:30 p.m. at the start of the month, reaching an elevation of 30º by 1:00a.m.

By the end of the month it will rise earlier, reaching an elevation of 70º just before sunrise.