The nights of November showcase all the brighter planets.
As the month begins, Venus sets about an hour after the sun; almost 1½ hours after by month’s end. Shining brilliantly at a magnitude of -3.8, Venus will be easy to spot 30 minutes after sunset, low, above the southwestern horizon.
For the first half of November, Mercury stays about 2 degrees under Venus. Shining at a much dimmer magnitude of -0.3, Mercury will be low, just above the southwestern horizon. Since the western sky is still fairly bright after sunset, use binoculars to help you find Mercury.
By the end of November, Mercury will be much higher above the southwestern horizon 30 minutes after sunset. This will make it much easier to find with your naked eye. On Nov. 11, 30 minutes after the sun sets, Venus and Mercury will be close together. First find Venus, then look just below and to the left of Venus to find Mercury. After this night, the distance increases between the two planets.
Jupiter was at opposition on Saturday (which means that as the sun set in the west, Jupiter rose at exactly the same time in the east), so by the end of evening twilight, Jupiter will be high in the eastern sky. Shining at a very bright magnitude of -2.9, Jupiter’s glow will outshine all the stars in this part of the sky, making it easy to find. Viewing Jupiter through a telescope will show red and white stripes on the face of the planet, along with the four larger moons of Jupiter that are easy to see.
Mars and Saturn rise before the sun, giving predawn sky watchers an additional treat this month.
Mars rises about 1 a.m. in the eastern sky as November begins, and two hours earlier at the end of the month. Shining at a magnitude of +1.0, the reddish glow of Mars will make it easy to spot amongst the stars in this part of the sky.
During November, Mars glides past the first magnitude star Regulus, in the constellation Leo the Lion. On the morning of Nov. 10, looking high in the eastern sky about an hour before sunrise and you will see the yellow-orange colored Mars just 1.2 degrees above the blue-white star Regulus.
Saturn rises in the eastern sky about 30 minutes before the sun Tuesday. By the end of the month, Saturn rises about 3:30 a.m. During the first half of November, you will need to use binoculars to find Saturn in the brightening morning sky. Nov. 15 through the end of month, Saturn will higher in the southeastern sky before the morning sky starts to brighten, thus making it easier to find.
The morning of Nov. 22, about an hour before sunrise, look high in the southeastern sky to find the golden glow of Saturn. Saturn will be to the left of the first magnitude, blue-white star Spica, in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. To the right of Spica will be a slender crescent moon. This will make a nice celestial lineup to reward those who watch the predawn sky.
The next meeting of the Longmont Astronomical Society will be Nov. 17 at IHOP restaurant, 2040 Ken Pratt Blvd. in Longmont. The meeting is open to the general public. Members meet for dinner at 6 p.m., which is followed by a talk about astronomy that starts at 7 p.m.
Nov. 11, the Fiske Planetarium on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus will present a faculty talk called “The Dark Side of the Universe.” On Nov. 18, the show will be “The City of Stars.” Each show starts at 7:30 p.m., and is followed by telescope viewing at the Sommers-Bausch Observatory, weather permitting. For more information, call 303-492-5002.
Michael Hotka is an amateur astronomer.
Article source: http://www.broomfieldenterprise.com/ci_19217099Tags: reddish glow, western sky, predawn sky, white stripes, naked eye <BR/>