Find out what to go out and look at this month

Planets:

Venus can also be found in the Western early evening sky in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent-Bear) at the start of the month and will quickly move into the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer) during the first week of November and will remain in that constellation for the rest of the month.

Jupiter and Saturn can be found in the high in the west during the evening in the constellation of Capricornus (The Sea-Goat). At the very end of the month, Jupiter will move into the constellation of Aquarius (The Water-Bearer). At the beginning of the month, Jupiter will set at 01:57 am (AWST) and Saturn will at 01:07 am (AWST). By the end of the month, Jupiter will set at 00:11 am (AWST) and Saturn will at 11:15 pm (AWST).

Uranus can be found in the evening sky in the constellation of Aries (The Ram). At the beginning of November, Uranus will be visible throughout the night and by the end of the month, it’ll set at 03:42 am (AWST). Neptune will be viewable as well in the evening between the constellation of Aquarius and the constellation of Pisces (The Fish). At the start of November, Neptune will set at 03:16 am (AWST) and by the end of the month, it’ll set at 01:21 am (AWST).

Venus, Jupiter and Saturn on the 15/11/21 at 08:00 pm. Image Credit: Stellarium

Conjunctions and Occultation:

Conjunctions involve object(s) in the Solar System and/or more distant objects, such as a star. It’s an apparent phenomenon in which multiple objects which aren’t close together appear close in the sky and it’s caused by the observer’s perspective. An occultation is an event that occurs when one object is hidden by another object that passes between it and the observer.

  • 08/11/21 – Conjunction of the Moon and Venus (Where to look)
  • 09/11/21 – Alignment of the Moon, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn (Where to look)
  • 10/11/21 – Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn (Where to look)
  • 11/11/21 – Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter (Where to look)
  • 12/11/21 – Alignment of the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn (Where to look)
  • 22/11/21 – Conjunction of the Moon and Elnath (Where to look)
  • 24/11/21 – Conjunction of the Moon, Castor and Pollux (Where to look)
  • 27/11/21 – Conjunction of the Moon and Regulus (Where to look)

Astronomical Events This Months:

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse:

On Friday the 19th of November, a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse will occur for us here in Perth, North/West Africa and much of Europe while the rest of Australia, much of Asia, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic will experience a Partial Lunar Eclipse. From our point of view here in Perth, the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are imperfectly aligned, and the Moon passes within Earth’s outer shadow (Called the Penumbra). Most Penumbral Lunar Eclipse cannot be easily distinguished from a usual Full Moon as at the maximum phase of the eclipse you’ll see the Moon turn a shade darker.

This is the final Lunar Eclipse for 2021, and the eclipse starts in Perth with the Moon below the horizon at 02:02 pm (AWST), and we’ll also miss the maximum partial phase which will occur at 05:02 pm (AWST). The Moon will rise here in Perth at 06:57 pm (AWST) and the eclipse will finish at 08:03 pm so we’ll only see the last 66 minutes of this eclipse.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse viewing map. Image Credit: timeanddate.com
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse diagram. Image Credit: timeanddate.com
The Leonids Meteor Shower:

The Leonids Meteor Shower will be active from the 6th of November to the 30th of November, and the peak is expected to be on the night of the 17th/18th of November. You’ll have to go out around 03:00 am to before sunrise (AWST) as the radiant point of the Leonids is in the Leo Constellation and it rises in the early morning. In 2021, the Leonids are expected to produce around 5 meteors per hour as the Moon will nearly be a Full Moon so there’ll be a lot of light pollution from it.

The Leonid meteors strike the Earth at 71 km/s and produce many fireballs. The source of the Leonids is Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle and they’re prone to provide amazing outbursts once every 33 years. We’re now past the midway point from the 1998 – 1999 outburst years and the next predicted ‘Leonid meteor storm’ is set for 2032 – 2033.

The great Leonid Storm of 1833 has been cited as a contributing factor to the religious fundamentalist movements of the 1830s in the United States. Residents of the United States eastern seaboard awoke on the morning of the 13th November 1833, to a stunning sight, as meteors seemed to fill the sky like snowflakes in a winter storm. Churches filled up, as many believed Judgment Day had dawned.

Leonid Meteor Shower on the 18/11/21 at 04:00 am. Image Credit: Stellarium
Leonid Meteor Shower. Image Credit: Jimmy Westlake
Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle’s orbit. Image Credit: SNAPPA

Things to Look at This Month:

The Andromeda Galaxy:

The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth and the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way. Its name stems from the area of the sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda. Observations made by the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2006 revealed that the Galaxy contained approximately one trillion stars, more than twice the number of our Milky Way Galaxy, which is estimated to have between 200 to 400 billion stars. The Andromeda Galaxy spans approximately 220 000 light-years and is the largest galaxy in our Local Group.

The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies will eventually collide in ~4.5 billion years and will merge to form a giant elliptical galaxy or a large disc galaxy.

The Andromeda Galaxy on the 15/11/21 at 21:00pm. Image Credit: Stellarium
The Andromeda Galaxy. Image Credit & Copyright: Gábor Tóth
Acamar:

Acamar is a double star that is 161 light-years away from us located in the Eridanus (The River) Constellation. Acamar is from the Arabic meaning “The end of the river” which is also the meaning for Achernar and relates to the extended constellation of Eridanus, the river. Achernar is not visible in the northern Mediterranean and hence the much more northern but fainter Acamar was given this term. In modern times with the redrawing of constellation boundaries, the Eridanus was extended further south to end at the brighter Achernar which is now ‘the end of the river’.

The double star separation is ~8 arcseconds and has an orbital period of 569 days. The primary star is mag +3.2 and the second +4.3. The primary star is ~2.6 times the mass and ~96 times brighter than the sun with a surface temperature of ~8 200 K. The secondary star is ~2.4 times the mass and ~36 times the brightness of the sun with a surface temperature of ~9 200 K.

Acamar on the 15/11/21 at 21:00pm. Image Credit: Stellarium
Aamar. Image Credit: Geoff Scott
Tarantula Nebula:

The Tarantula Nebula is an Emission Nebula that isn’t even located in our galaxy, but in one of our galaxies satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud. The Nebula is some 160,000 light-years away from our Solar System and is 300 light-years across. This Nebula is an extremely luminous object, its luminosity is so great that if it were as close to Earth as the Orion Nebula, the Tarantula Nebula would cast shadows and take up 60% of the horizon. It’s is the most active starburst region known in the Local Group of galaxies, this is because the nebula resides on the leading edge of the Large Magellanic Cloud where ram pressure is stripping, and the compression of the interstellar medium likely resulting from this, is at a maximum.

Tarantula Nebula on the 15/11/21 at 09:00 pm. Image Credit: Stellarium
Tarantula Nebula. Image Credit: Peter Ward (Barden Ridge Observatory)
47 Tucanae:

47 Tucanae or NGC 104 is the second-largest and second brightest globular cluster in Milky Way. The Globular cluster is 16,000 light-years away from us and is located in the constellation Tucana (Named after the Tucan bird) and it’s a naked eye ‘star’ and visible in binoculars as a ‘fuzzy blob’. Omega Centauri contains at least 1 – 2 million stars and the cluster has a diameter of roughly 120 light-years and the stars are roughly 10 billion years old. The average distance between the stars in the centre of the cluster is around 10% of a light-year or more than 100 times the diameter of our solar system. In February 2017, indirect evidence for a likely intermediate-mass black hole in 47 Tucanae was announced.

47 Tucanae on the 15/11/21 at 09:00 pm. Image Credit: Stellarium
47 Tucanae. Image Credit & Copyright: Mike O'Day

Phases Of The Moon:

November 2021 Moon phases