November 2nd, 2015
November is just beginning and there a number of night sky highlights that can be easily seen throughout the month. (Click on any of the images to enlarge them.)
First off, we have the last in the series of pre-dawn planetary conjunctions that have wowed the world. This time, it’s between brilliant Venus and fainter Mars. The pair have been drawing closer together over the past few days but they’ll be at their closest in the pre-dawn sky on the 3rd.
A few days later the waning crescent Moon begins to approach the planets. It passes Regulus, the brightest star in Leo on the 5th and then passes Jupiter the next morning. Mars and Venus take their turns on the 7th while Earthshine illuminates the Moon on the 8th.
If you miss the Moon that morning, you can witness Earthshine again on the 14th. By this time the Moon has turned new and has moved into the evening sky. On that evening, it’ll be a waxing crescent and can be found among the stars of Sagittarius. Northern hemisphere observers should be able to see it over the southwestern horizon after sunset.
Lastly, November is home to one of the year’s better meteor showers, the Leonids. These are at their best in the early hours of the 17th, which, unfortunately, is a Tuesday this year. On the plus side, the Moon is still in its crescent phase so if you’re able to stay up late, the Moon won’t be posing any problems. (And even if you can’t stay up til the early hours, it’s still worth a look!) This year is not predicted to be a spectacular event but you should still see up to fifteen shooting stars every hour from a dark sky location.
All Astronomical Events for November 2nd, 2015
Venus enters Virgo from Leo. (54% illuminated, magnitude -4.3, diameter 22.3”. Naked eye, pre-dawn sky.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
Astronomical events taken from 2015: An Astronomical Year, available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. Night sky simulations created using Mobile Observatory for Android devices.
2015: An Astronomical Year
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