November 2021 Dark Skies

4th: Uranus at opposition (figure 1/2/2a). Reaching opposition when opposite to the Sun. Constellation Aries, visible most of the night, 19:10 to 05:05.

Accessible to the East and disappearing to the West. An astronomical body is at opposition when it makes closest approach to the point directly opposite the Sun in the night sky. With a dark sky background, it may be possible to see Uranus with the unaided eye, however, better viewing will be achieved through a pair of binoculars/telescope.

Figure 1: Uranus.

Figure 2: Uranus at opposition.

Figure 2a.

10th: Conjunction of Moon and Saturn (figure 3). Visible from 16:58 (BST), in Southern sky. Observable until 20:45, disappearing to the South, West.

Constellation Capricornus (figure 3a). The Moon will be 373309 km from Earth and Saturn will be 1506 million km from Earth. They will also make a close approach (appulse).

Figure 3: Conjunction is alignment of two planets so that they appear to be in the same, or nearly the same, place in the sky.

Figure 3a.

11th: Conjunction and close approach of Moon and Jupiter (figure 4). Visible from 16:58 (BST), to the South East. Observable until 22:15, disappearing to the South West. Moon will be 378704 km from Earth and Jupiter will be 724 million km distant.

Figure 4. Observable in constellation Capricornus (figure 3a).

12th: Northern Taurid meteor shower (figure 5), active 20th October to 10th December, with peak of meteors approximately 12th November. Located in constellation Taurus (figure 6). Producing best displays approximately 01:00 (GMT). Parent body, asteroid 2004 TG10.

Figure 5.

Figure 6: May see upto 5 meteors per hour.

17th: Peak of Leonid meteor shower (figure 7). Active, 6th November to 30th November in constellation Leo (figure 8). Visible 22:30 each night, when radiant point is above the East. Active until approximately 07:00. Possibility of seeing between 5 and 20 meteors, per hour. Parent body, comet 55p/Temple-Tuttle.

Figure 7.

Figure 8.

17th: M45 - Pleiades open star cluster (figure 9) in constellation Taurus. Visible from 17:40, in the North East, reaching highest point at 00:20, in the South. Disappearing approximately 06:40 in the West. Visible to the unaided eye, however, better viewing through binoculars or telescope.

Figure 9: Pleiades open star cluster with greater than 100 stars. Distance from Earth is 444 light years.

19th: Full Moon (figure 10). Full Moon in November (beaver Moon) is named after beavers who build their winter dams at this time of year. Also known as the frost Moon by some Native American tribes. Visible for most of the night, visible from dusk and setting approximately dawn. Distance from Earth will be 400947 km.

Figure 10.

21st: Peak of α (alpha) Monocerotid meteor shower (figure 11). Active, 15th to 25th in constellation Canis Minor (figure 12). Visible 21:55 when radiant point is above the East. Active until 07:08. Parent body, comet C/1917 F1 (Mellish). Possible to see 5 or more meteors per hour.

Figure 11.

Figure 12.

28th: Peak of November Orionid meteor shower (figure 13), active 13th November to 6th December. Visible 18:25 in the East.
Active until 07:20. Possible to see 3 meteors per hour in constellation Orion (figure 14).

Figure 13.

Figure 14: Orion constellation as seen with the unaided eye.

WARNING: Never attempt to view through binoculars, telescope or any optical aid an object near to the Sun. Also, never attempt to view the Sun, aided or unaided, doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness. Always use astronomical approved viewing equipment.

The Stellarium software will assist greatly in locating objects in the sky.

Mark R Smith FRAS FRi

Nuclear Fusion Physics