What's Up - November 2017
Dawn pairing of Jupiter and Venus, Moon shines near star clusters, meteor activity all month long.
Your binoculars will come in handy this month--to view the moon, star clusters, and a close pairing of Venus and Jupiter.
Hello and welcome! I'm Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena, California.
You can’t miss bright Venus in the predawn sky. This month Venus pairs up
with Jupiter on the morning of November 13th, as they did in 2015 and 2016
when the two planets appeared a little closer than this year. You’ll have to be
looking very low on the east-southeast horizon about 45 minutes before sunrise.
But protect your eyes! Don't aim your binoculars directly at the sun and don’t look at the approaching sunrise with your unaided eyes or telescopes.
There are three meteor showers this month, but none of them will present
high numbers of meteors at their peak.
The Leonids peak on a moonless November 17th. Expect no more than 10 meteors
an hour around 3:00 a.m., the height of the shower.
The Northern and Southern sub-branches of the Taurid meteor shower offer sparse counts of about 5 meteors per hour, but slow, bright meteors are common.
The nearby November Orionids peak on the 28th. In contrast to the Taurids, the Orionids are swift. But don’t expect more than 3 meteors per hour.
The moon glides by three beautiful star clusters in the morning sky this month, and a pair of binoculars will allow you to see the individual stars in the clusters. Aim your binoculars at the Pleiades and the moon on the 5th, the Messier or M-35 cluster
and the moon on the 7th, and the Beehive cluster and the moon on the 10th.
Meanwhile, at dusk, catch Saturn as it dips closer to the western horizon and pairs up with Mercury on the 24th through the 28th.
Comet C/2017 O1, discovered only in July by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae, came close to the sun in October, and should still be a binocular-friendly magnitude 7 or 8 greenish object in November. Use Polaris, the North Star
as a guide. Look in the East to Northeast sky in the late evening.
You can find out about all of NASA's missions at: www.nasa.gov
That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.