The Sun is setting early in the evening and rising late in the mornings. Long nights! So time enough to explore and admire the beauty of the night skies. The planets Uranus and Neptune, for which you will need a binocular or small telescope to see, are visible throughout the night. The Moon passes closely enough to these two far distance planets. The Moon passes close to Neptune on 19 November. And gets close to Uranus the nights of 22 and 23 November.
The dance of the planets is still in the early mornings. Jupiter, Mars and the bright Venus can be seen before Sun set. Jupiter high up, followed by Mars and below the bright Venus. Nearly all 3 planets in line. Mercury is too close to the Sun and cannot be seen. Saturn is rather low in the Western evening sky and gets closer to the Sun too.
The night sky is a beauty to watch. Look for some dark skies in the suburbs of the towns and villages. Specially with all the Christmas lights whom some of you leave on during the entire night. Think about the environment (and your wallet). Light pollution is also one of them … and … you can watch the stars!
Wednesday 18 November
Today in 1477 the English printer William Caxton produced the first book printed.
The planet Neptune is stationary and getting in prograde. This means that its movement in our night skies stops and goes back.
Look for the Earthshine on the Moon at about 5.30 pm. The Earth shine is the non-illuminated side or dark side of the Moon. The reflectance of our planet causes the Earthshine to be visible.
After midnight and if you have a small telescope or binocular, you can see the Great Red Spot on Jupiter in transit on the planet at 3.40 am. Jupiter is then at altitude 22°.
The International Space Station, known as “ISS” appears at 4.11 am in the East at 13° high. After only 3 minutes ISS disappears at 4.14 am in the Eastern horizon. ISS is a satellite which moves like a bright star in our night skies and can easily be seen with the naked eye. ISS recently celebrated it’s 15 years orbit around the Earth.
After one orbit, which takes about 90 minutes, ISS appears again at 5.44 am in the West South West at 35°. The culmination or highest point in the sky is at 5.45 am in the South South West at 45°. ISS disappears at 5.50 am in the East South East.
The yearly meteor shower called Leonids is best seen from 10.30 pm to 6.15 am. The local hour rate at this date is 7. These meteors are known to be very slow with a velocity of 22.9km/s. Use a deck chair, hammock of hot tub to observe the meteors with the naked eye.
The Moon is in First Quarter at 6.27 am. This is the second biggest First Quarter Moon of the year. The former larger First Quarter Moon was on 28 December 2014. The next larger First Quarter Moon is on 18 December 2015.
Thursday 19 November
After midnight at 4.19 am the Jupiter Moon Io begins its eclipse. Jupiter is at altitude of 28° and you will need a small telescope or binocular to see.
ISS appears in the South East at 32° at 4.53 am and disappears already after 4 minutes at 4.57 am in the East South East.
At 5.46 am a bright Iridium flare appears in the North at altitude of 44° in the constellation of Cepheus.
ISS appears once more at 6.25 am in the West at 12°. Culmination is at 6.28 am in the South South West at 22°. ISS disappears at 6.32 am in the South East.
Friday 20 November
Today in 1906 Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce formed Rolls-Royce well known for the cars and the aircraft engines.
Get your telescope or binocular out. After midnight at 1.40 am the Jupiter Moon Io begins it shadow over Jupiter. The planet is still low at only 5° high, but look at it a little later when you will see a dark black dot (shadow) going over the planet disc. At 2.50 am the actual transit of the Jupiter Moon Io begins. The little Jupiter Moon will appear as a lighter ball going over the planet disc. At 3.57 am the Jupiter Moon Io ends it's shadow crossing and at 3.58 am the Jupiter Moon Io is at its inferior conjunction.
ISS appears at 4.02 am in the East North East at 8° and disappears already at 4.04 am in the East.
At 5.06 am the Jupiter Moon Io ends its actual transit and at 5.18 am the Great Red Spot on Jupiter is in transit.
One more orbit and ISS appears again at 5.34 am in the South South West at 31°. Culmination is at the same time and position. ISS disappears at 5.40 am in the South East.
Saturday 21 November
At 2.10 pm the Moon's Golden Handle is visible. The Sun rises on the Jura mountains, while Sinus Iridium is still in shadow.
An Iridium flare appears at 6.35 pm in the South South East at 39° in the constellation Pisces.
Time for your telescope or binocular after midnight. At 1.10 am the Great Red Spot transits the planet. The altitude of Jupiter is just above the horizon, but the Great Red Spot will be still visible after. At 2.14 am the Jupiter Moon Io reappears from its occultation. At 2.28 am the Jupiter Moon Callisto begins its transit and at 4.04 am the Jupiter Moon Callisto is in inferior conjunction.
ISS appears at 4.43 am in the South East at 18° and disappears already at 4.47 am in the East South East.
At 5.39 am the Jupiter Moon Callisto ends its transit.
A second pass of ISS appears at 6.16 am in the West South West at 12°. Culmination at 6.17 am in the South West in the 13° and disappears at 6.22 am in the South South East horizon.
At twilight a very bright (daylight) Iridium flare appears at 7.37 am in the North North West at 74° in the constellation of Ursa Major.
Sunday 22 November
Today in 1944 Arthur Eddington died. Eddington was an English astrophysicist, and mathematician known for his work on the motion, distribution, evolution and structure of stars. He also interpreted Einstein's general theory of relativity. He was one of the first to suggest in 1917 conversion of matter into radiation powered the stars. In 1919 he led a solar eclipse expedition which confirmed the predicted bending of starlight by gravity.
An Iridium flare is visible at 5.02 pm in the South South West at 28° in the constellation of Aquila. Another flare appears at 6.36 pm in the East South East at 72° in the constellation Andromeda.
With the telescope or binocular you can see the Jupiter Moon Ganymede’s shadow beginning to cross the planet’s disc at 4.25 am.
ISS appears at 5.25 am in the South at 18° and disappears at 5.29 am in the South East.
Another flare appears at 5.28 am in the North at 38° in the constellation Cepheus.
Are we in for a once per decade Alpha Monocerotids outburst? The 2015 meteor shower peak arrives at 5.25 am. If you can believe some prospects, a local hour rate 400+ possible. Wait and see ...
Finish your night sky gazing and watch the Great Red Spot in transit on Jupiter at 6.57 am.
Monday 23 November
Today in 1852 the first of four British pillar boxes was installed at Jersey's capital St. Helier. The red cast iron free-standing boxes were used as a street-side receptacles of letters ready for collection by the Post Office.
At 8.14 pm the Moon is in perigee. The distance of the Moon to the Earth is 362835 km or 226772 miles.
After midnight, get your telescope or binocular and watch the Great Red Spot in transit on Jupiter at 2.49 am. At 3.27 am the Jupiter Moon Europa begins its eclipse.
ISS appears at 4.34 am in the South East at 9° and disappears already at 4.36 am in the South East.
The Jupiter Moon Io is in Eastern elongation at 6.17 am. You can go to sleep now …
Tuesday 24 November
Today in 1859 The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Darwin's ground breaking book, was published. And today in 1639 Jeremiah Horrocks, an English astronomer and clergyman, measured a transit of Venus, the first ever to be observed.
After midnight at 1.57 am the planet Mercury is close to Saturn. They are only 3° separated. You will not be able to see this in the evening as it is only 4° distance from the Sun.
At 3.28 am the Jupiter Moon Io is in Western elongation and at 4.22 am the Jupiter Moon Europa is in Eastern elongation. At 5.41 am the Jupiter Moon Ganymede is in Western elongation. This means the little Moons are at its farthest distance from Jupiter, seeing from here with the telescope and binocular.
Wednesday 25 November
Today it is the 100th Anniversary when the famous Albert Einstein publishes the General Theory of Relativity in 1915.
At 5.55 pm Mercury is in aphelion. The distance to the Sun is 0.4667 AU.
It is Full Moon at 10.44 pm. The Moon is passing the Hyades in the constellation Taurus. After midnight at 4.20 am the Moon is close to the star Hyadum I. The limb separation is only 0.19° or 0.34 lunar diameters. The Moon altitude is 29° and the Moon phase is 99.8%. Due to the bright Moon, the star will be hard to locate. Be careful and do NOT star too long to this bright Moon. It can damage your eye sight!!! At 5.55 am the Moon is close to the star Hyadum II. Limb separation is 1°or 2 lunar diameters. And at 7 am the Moon is close to the star The2 Tau. Limb separation is only 0.38° or 0.71 lunar diameters. At 7.10 am the Moon is close to the star The1 Tau. Limb separation is 0.32° or 0.59 lunar diameters. And ... at 7.20 am the Moon is close to the bright star Aldebaran. This should be easier to see. Watch upfront so you can see the star getting closer to the Moon. The limb separation goes to 2° or 4 lunar diameters. At that time the Moon altitude is only 6°. The Moon occults Aldebaran for North America. Send in your picture!
If you have some time in between, look with the telescope or binocular at Jupiter. After midnight at 1.23 am the Jupiter Moon Europa is in inferior conjunction. And at 2.47 am the Jupiter Moon Europa ends it transit.