British Summer time has now left us, and the evenings are drawing in more quickly, with a distinct chill in the air.
Jupiter is very bright in our southern skies particularly around midnight this month when it is at its highest point in the sky, it reaches opposition next month on December 3rd. The moon makes two close passes of Jupiter during November, the first in the early hours of November 2nd and then again on the morning of the 29th. Neptune and Uranus rise a few hours before Jupiter and setting in the just before and after midnight respectively. At the beginning of the month Mercury and Saturn both rise after sunrise and set around the same time as the sun, which makes them very difficult to view safely at present. Venus is rising in the early hours for those up around 4am and should make a nice view on the 27th when it passes close by Saturn in the early hours.
The meteor showers of the month are the Taurids and the Leonids. The Taurids, unlike other meteor showers appear to come from two different sections of the constellation: the southern Taurids, which began its peak on October 30th and continues to November 7th and the northern Taurids which begin their peak on November 12th, where the rate is up to 7 meteors an hour and sometimes, impressive fireballs. The Leonids meteor shower peaks on the 16th/17th of the month, which should be better than the previous year, as it coincides with the new moon. We will have people monitoring all the meteor shower and you can learn more about their work and see some of their images at http://www.meteorscan.com/meteor-live.html
The constellation Andromeda, along with the galaxy of the same name are still in a good southern position for observing, but as the month moves on, Taurus and Orion are rising earlier, reminding us that winter is near. The Pleiades’ and Hyades are in good positions for observing this month, along with the crab Nebulae, M1. There is also the constellation of Cassiopeia which is now high in the sky, for those interested in viewing open and globular clusters. There is a wealth of viewing opportunities with binoculars and small telescopes.
After the success of the Moore Marathon to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Sky at Night on TV, Sir Patrick has now created a winter marathon for both people with telescopes and those with binoculars or wish to view with the naked eye. To find out more go to
NLO Open Days:
The observatory will be open to the public for viewing, planetarium shows and telescope tours at 7:30pm on the evenings of the 3rd and 17th November (Normal Fees: £5/Adult, £2.50/Child).
Kate Kay 1st November 2012