November 2024 Skywatching Blog Post

Planets, stars, meteors, and longer nights for your November skywatching pleasure.

Learn why Jupiter is so bright that you can see its moons, then later this month watch meteors, more planets, and a star cluster. The nights will be longer, so you will have more time to enjoy your favorite constellations.

Jupiter_with_moonsJupiter was in opposition last night (November 2-3). What does it mean when a planet is in opposition? The Earth and Jupiter are revolving around the sun at different rates. Every 13 months, the earth moves in between Jupiter and the sun. This is also the time when Jupiter is closest to Earth. So close that you can easily see some of Jupiter’s moons with ordinary binoculars. Jupiter will continue to be one of the brightest objects in the night sky, so get out there and have a look.

Make a point of getting away from light pollution on Friday night (Nov 3) to view Jupiter and the Taurids meteor showers. The Southern Taurids peak between Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, and the Northern Taurids peak between Nov. 11 and Nov. 12. 

The Leonids will send meteors soaring through the night sky, throughout November, with the peak of activity hitting Nov. 17-18. A dim, five-day-old waxing crescent moon will help, as will a viewing spot with a dark sky. Look just right of the constellation Leo to spot the meteors.

November 9 brings us a stunning, don’t-miss conjunction. Wake up early, grab a cup of coffee, bundle up, then head outside for the amazing show. Look about 24° above the horizon at 5 AM, the crescent Moon and Venus, the night’s most brilliant bodies, meet up.

Your best chance to see Uranus is on November 13 when it reaches its annual opposition. Remember what you learned about opposition earlier in this article? Uranus will appear as a greenish dot between Jupiter and the star cluster Pleiades. Best viewed with binoculars or a telescope.

But wait there is more. To the left of Jupiter will be the “Seven Sisters” of the Pleaides star cluster, one of the most popular sights in the night sky. It should reach it’s highest point on November 18, but should be visible all month.

You can’t buy a star in the Pleaides Cluster, but you can Name a Star.

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