This month, see Venus at sunset, Jupiter at dawn, an evening look at Saturn, plus meteors!
What's Up for November. Venus at sunset, Jupiter at dawn, your last evening glimpse of Saturn until spring and more meteors!
Hello and welcome. I'm Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
From November 1st to 3rd catch gibbous Venus, the crescent moon and ringed Saturn together in the southwest sky just after sunset. Wake up before sunrise all month to see bright Jupiter above Spica, Virgo's brightest star, shining in the east-southeast sky. Just before sunrise, you'll see the waning crescent moon above Jupiter. On the following predawn mornings, through the 26th, the moon will be below Jupiter. November is a good time to try to spot Ceres, as it glides past the stars in the constellation Cetus the whale. Over the course of an evening or two, you will see the dwarf planet move relative to the background stars (through a telescope, that is).
This month, just like last month, there are three meteor showers: the Northern Taurids, the Leonids and the November Orionids. The slow, bright Taurids are visible before midnight for a week centered on November 12. The Leonids produced meteor storms of hundreds to thousands of meteors per hour at the peak each year from 1998 to 2002. This year they'll be visible at their regular rates, perhaps 10 per hour. The November 17 Leonid peak falls just a few days after the full moon, obscuring all but the brightest of these swift meteors. The Orionids peak on November 28th. The constellation Orion is familiar to most skywatchers. The radiant is near Orion's head.
Finally, we say a temporary farewell to Saturn at the end of the month, as it will pass through solar conjunction December 10th. It will reappear in the pre-dawn sky by the end of the year.
You can catch up on current missions such as NASA's Dawn mission orbiting Ceres right now, Cassini orbiting Saturn and Juno orbiting Jupiter at http://www.nasa.gov.
That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.