Night sky November

00:03, Oct 22 2013

Sun: On the 14th there is a total solar eclipse. In Taranaki, up to 80 per cent of the Sun will be covered. The event starts at 9.21am and lasts until 11.44am. Maximum coverage is at 10.30am. Do not look directly at the Sun for any reason, as you risk permanent blindness.

Moon: Last quarter is on the 7th followed by new moon on the 14th. First quarter falls on the 21st and full moon is on the 29th. There is a penumbral eclipse of the Moon on the morning of the 29th but it will be barely noticeable.

Meteor shower: The Leonids peak on the 17th. This shower can have a high hourly rate of meteors but its radiant is rather low in our skies.

Planets: Mercury moves into the morning sky this month but will be rather difficult to see against the twilight.

Venus rises in the early dawn sky but is easily found in the east. On the 28th it is very close to Saturn.

Mars is low in the north- western sky, setting about two hours after the Sun.


Jupiter is visible by late evening and will be a rewarding view for anyone with a small telescope or pair of binoculars.

Saturn rises a short time before the Sun. By the end of the month it should be possible to locate the planet, just above the eastern horizon.

Stars and constellations:

The November evening sky appears somewhat barren overhead.

In the west, Scorpius and Sagittarius are setting, while, directly opposite, the summer constellation of Orion is emerging.

The bright star just above the horizon is Sirius. A little distance away is Canopus.

The Southern Cross is due south, barely visible. Above it are the magellanic clouds.

Dominating the northern sky is the Great Square of Pegasus, the Winged Horse. Below it is the spiral galaxy of M31 in Andromeda. Prepared for The Taranaki Daily News by Tom Whelan, Cape Egmont Observatory.

Taranaki Daily News