November 2018 Night Sky Guide.
November Night Sky 2018 – November is a fantastic month for stargazing. The autumn equinox has passed so we now have long and dark night skies. The first month of winter and as a result, cold crisp and clear evenings. When it isn’t cloudy of course!
There are some fantastic sights to see in Novembers night sky. So read on and lets see what you can see…
In contrast to the Planet filled night sky of Spring and Summer, November 2018 is a little less busy.
Venus is now a morning object and is the brightest thing in the sky (with the exception of the Moon) before sunrise. Venus rises around 6:00am in the UK early in November and will rise progressively earlier throughout the month, rising around 4:00am at months end.
Jupiter is lost in the light of sunset early on in the month along with Planet Mercury. Mercury reaches “greatest eastern elongation” – its furthest point east of the sun from our perspective on November 9th.
Ringed Saturn is low in the south west early evening. Saturn remains visible as a bright ocre coloured object until it becomes too low later in the month. Look out for a close encounter on November 11th when its just 1.5° south of the Moon.
Mars is still a bright reddish object in the south. It is in the constellation of Capricornus early in November and moves into Aquarius dimming slightly over the month. The Moon will pass close to Mars on November 15th and 16th 2018. An ideal photo opportunity.
Neptune and Uranus are visible in large binoculars or a small telescope. Neptune can be found in Aquarius and Uranus in Aries. Pinpoint the two outermost gas giants using detailed star maps and apps if you have adequate observing equipment.
Moon Phases in November 2018
New Moon occurs on the 7th at 16:02 GMT.
First Quarter occurs on the 15th at 14:54 GMT.
Full Moon is on November 23rd at 05:39 GMT.
Last Quarter occurs on the 30th at 00:19 GMT
The remaining constellations of the warmer months of 2018 are moving further west, giving way to the gems of the winter night sky.
Looking high to the south. Look for the constellations of Pisces and Aries. Pisces represents a pair of fish tethered together by their tails and Aries represents a ram. More info on how to find them etc. can be seen in the Tonight’s Sky video below.
Below Aries and Pisces is the constellation of Cetus the sea monster on his way to devour the Princess Andromeda, as depicted in Greek mythology. The constellation of Andromeda can be found above Aries and Pisces and is almost directly overhead next to the constellation of Triangulum. See the below Tonights Sky November 2018 video for more about Triangulum also.
Aries and Pisces are both zodiacal constellations The zodiac is the band of the night sky which contains the path of the Sun, Moon and Planets. There are twelve constellations in the zodiac (thirteen if you count Ophiucus) but not all of them are visible. Late evening mid November will have Aquarius setting in the south west followed by Pisces, Aries, Taurus and Gemini rising in the east. Taurus being easily identified by the Seven Sisters – Pleiades and Hyades clusters. Both Gems of the winter sky.
Deep Sky Objects
In November 2018 there are two fantastic deep sky objects among many visible in the night sky. The Andromeda and Triangulum Galaxies. Both can easily be found in binoculars and both are on the edge of naked eye visibility in very dark light pollution free skies. Use star charts and the video below to pinpoint the two galaxies. They are quite close together from our perspective and are part of the same group of galaxies the Milky Way, our home galaxy is part of. Both Triangulum and Andromeda are spiral galaxies the same as our own Milky Way and are both fantastic to look at in binoculars or a small telescope.
November Meteor Showers
There are two fantastic meteor showers in the night sky this month. The Taurids and the Leonids.
The Taurid Meteor Shower is active from mid October to December. It peaks on the night of November 11th – 12th. It isn’t a major shower with only 5 – 10 meteors per hour, but the meteors it produces can be extremely impressive bright fireballs! Worth looking out for!
The famous Leonid Meteor Shower is active from mid to late November with peak activity on the evening of the 17th – 18th. The Leonids usually only produce 10 – 20 meteors per hour. However, they are famous for very dramatic meteor storms with many thousand meteors per hour. You can read more about the Leonids here and there is also a fantastic guide to observing meteors here.
International Space Station Passes
The International Space Station – ISS, passes over the UK in the morning night sky early in November 2018. Evening passes start in the UK late November and continue through to mid December.
You can find out times and information for UK evening passes on this site here.
Pass times and information for other countries and locations will be available soon on the new VirtualAstro website. The site is currently under construction.
Video credit: Hubblesite