November 2017

Welcome to SkyEye, your guide to this month's celestial events.

The Calendar

Date Event
Tuesday 1
Wednesday 2
Thursday 3
Friday 4 Full Moon
Saturday 5
Sunday 6 Moon at perigee
Moon occults Aldebaran: visible from central and eastern North America, Cuba, the Bahamas, Greenland, Iceland and northern Europe, and beginning around 00:45 UT.
Monday 7
Tuesday 8
Wednesday 9
Thursday 10 Last Quarter Moon
Friday 11 Moon occults Regulus: visible from eastern Russia, Japan and Alaska, and beginning around 14:40 UT.
Saturday 12
Sunday 13
Monday 14
Tuesday 15
Wednesday 16
Thursday 17 The nearly New Moon brings optimal observing conditions for this year's apparition of the Leonid meteor shower. The theoretical maximum of the shower occurs at 16:40 UT but another peak of sparse, bright meteors may occur 24 hours earlier.
Friday 18 New Moon
Saturday 19
Sunday 20
Monday 21 The waxing crescent Moon does not interfere with viewing the α Monocerotid meteor shower. The maximum is calculated to occur at 17:00 UT.
Moon at apogee
Tuesday 22
Wednesday 23
Thursday 24 Mercury at greatest elongation east
Friday 25
Saturday 26 First Quarter Moon
Sunday 27 Moon occults Neptune: visible from Antarctica.
Monday 28
Tuesday 29
Wednesday 30

The Solar System

The word planet is derived from the Greek word for 'wanderer'. Unlike the background stars, planets seem to move around the sky, keeping mostly to a narrow track called the ecliptic, the path of the Sun across the stars. Dwarf planets and small solar-system bodies, including comets, are not so constrained, often moving far above or below the ecliptic.

Sun LibraScorpiusOphiuchus

Although Ophiuchus is not a member of the zodiac, the ecliptic passes through it.

Mercury LibraScorpiusOphiuchusScorpius

Found in the west after sunset, this tiny planet remains close to the horizon all month from a northern vantage point. However, southern planet watchers will see it rapidly climb into the sunset sky until late in the month before falling just as quickly. It reaches greatest elongation east on 24 October.

Venus VirgoLibra

The morning star is getting quite low in the east now, particularly for southern hemisphere observers. It has a particularly close encounter with Jupiter on 13 November. Venus is the brighter of the pair.

Mars Virgo

Mars is a morning sky object, increasing its distance in the sky from the Sun and slowly brightening.

Jupiter VirgoLibra

Following its conjunction last month, the king of the planets reappears in the morning sky. It passes within a degree of Venus on 13 November.

Saturn OphiuchusSagittarius

At conjunction with the Sun early next month, the ringed planet is disappearing into the western twilight glow after sunset.

Uranus Pisces

At opposition last month, this green-coloured ice giant is visible for much of the night, not setting until after midnight.

Neptune Aquarius

A small telescope is necessary to view the most distant planet in the solar system. It sets around midnight.

The Celestial Sphere

Constellations are patterns of stars in the sky. The International Astronomical Union recognises 88 different constellations. The brightest stars as seen from the Earth are easy to spot but do you know their proper names? With a set of binoculars you can look for fainter objects such as nebulae and galaxies and star clusters or some of the closest stars to the Sun.

Descriptions of the sky for observers in both the northern and southern hemispheres are available for the following times this month. Subtract one hour from your local time if summer (daylight savings) time is in effect.

Local Time Northern Hemisphere Southern Hemisphere
1730 hours (1830 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
1930 hours (2030 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
2130 hours (2230 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
2330 hours (0030 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
0130 hours (0230 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
0330 hours (0430 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
0530 hours (0630 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S