November 2011 Sky & Space Events

October 31, 2011 | By | 4 Comments
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These notes are intended to provide a casual sky watcher or someone already into amateur astronomy living on the East Coast of Australia with a short summary of what is happening in the night sky in November 2011. Instructions on how to obtain customised satellite viewing information for your location can be found here. If you find this page of interest, you may wish to follow this website automatically using Twitter and the sites RSS Feed.

Note that all times are listed in the AEST time zone (U.T. plus 10 hours).  Add one hour to times listed if your state or territory follows daylight savings time.

Planets this month (November 2011)

If you are just starting out in astronomy, you might be interested in knowing that the word ‘planet’ comes from an ancient Greek word that means wanderer. Early astronomers knew that there were five wandering stars visible in the sky at various times but they were not aware that they were other worlds. Planets further from the Sun than Jupiter (this includes Uranus and Neptune) are not visible to the unaided eye and had to await the invention of the telescope before they were discovered.

For the first half of November 2011, Mercury and Venus are located close together above the Western horizon in the evening twilight. Mercury then drops back towards the Western horizon in the second half of the month and fades in brightness. Venus continues to climb higher above the horizon as November draws to a close.

Mars is visible in the morning sky from around 1 am AEST mid-month. Look above the Eastern horizon.

Jupiter is visible above the Eastern horizon as soon as the sky darkens. It is located in a part of the sky with few bright stars.

Saturn rises around 3.30 am AEST mid-month. Look very low above the Eastern horizon.

Uranus and Neptune are both above the Eastern horizon before the sun sets. Both require a finder chart to locate them with either a (large) pair of binoculars or a telescope. A finder chart can be downloaded from http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/planets/12435011.html

The minor planet Vesta is ideally placed for locating using either a (large) pair of binoculars or a telescope. A finder chart can be downloaded from http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/asteroids/122249184.html

A partial Solar Eclipse will be visible from the Southern tip of Australia on Friday 25 November 2011. This image shows how the Sun will appear from Hobart at 6.50 pm Summer Time. Note that it is not safe to directly look at the Sun without specialist solar filters.

Individual Sky Events (November 2011)

November 3: 2.38 am AEST First Quarter Moon

November 8: 11 pm AEST Moon at apogee (furthest from the Earth in its orbit at 406,177km)

November 9: Moon located to left of Jupiter. Evening sky.

November 10: 7 am Neptune stationary

November 11: 6.16 am AEST Full Moon

November 11: Mercury at greatest latitude South

November 11: Mars close to Regulus (just over 1.4 degrees apart). Morning sky.

November 12: 4 pm AEST Ceres stationary

November 14: 7 pm AEST Mercury at greatest elongation East.

November 18: 1.40 pm AEST Leonid meteor shower peaks (the peak occurs in the daytime for Eastern Australia). Unfortunately the Moon will interfere with the visibility of all but the brightest of the meteors from this shower. More information about this shower can be found at http://www.imo.net/calendar/2011#leo. The shower is active over the period 6 – 30 November 2011.

November 19: 1.09 am AEST Last Quarter Moon

November 19: Moon located above Mars. Morning sky.

November 23: A slim crescent Moon, the star Spica (the brightest star in the ancient Greek constellation Virgo the Virgin) and the planet Saturn make a temporary triangle low above the Eastern horizon in the morning twilight sky.

November 24: 9 am AEST Moon at perigee (closest to Earth in its orbit at 359,691 km)

November 24: 8 pm AEST Mercury stationary

November 25: 4.10 pm AEST New Moon

November 25: Partial Solar Eclipse. Observable from Southern tip of Tasmania using safe solar viewing techniques between approximately 6.30pm AEST and 7.05pm Daylight Savings Time.

November 26: Very slim crescent Moon located below and to the right of Mercury in the early evening twilight. Look very low above the Western horizon. You will require a very clear horizon and a pair of binoculars are recommended to have a chance of seeing the crescent Moon.

November 27: If you have patience and a pair of binoculars, you might want to try finding the slim crescent Moon and the planet Venus during the day (Venus will look like a faint star in the binoculars against the blue sky). Around 2pm AEST look high above the Northern horizon to see if you can see them. Note that the Sun will be relatively close to both. To avoid the glare of the Sun, find the side of a building to stand next to (with the building to your left). Do not point the binoculars at the Sun.

November 27: Slim crescent Moon located to the right of Venus in the early evening twilight. Look low above the Western horizon.

November 29: Venus at aphelion

November 30: Mercury at ascending node

 For Further Information

Planet and Moon Rise/Set Times

Planet and Moon rise/set times for 2011 can be found here on this website.

Customised Astronomy & Satellite Viewing information

Information on how to obtain customised astronomy & satellite viewing information for your location can be found here on this website.

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About the Author (Author Profile)

This website is maintained by Paul Floyd. I am an amateur astronomer (and school teacher) with 25 years experience (as at 2015) in running a range of education and public astronomy outreach activities. As of January 2015, I have been providing astronomy information via the WWW for eighteen years.