Breakdown: November Night Sky - why you should look up
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - So many things to check out in the nights sky from meteor showers, planets and a total lunar eclipse.
- November 4, 5 - Taurids Meteor Shower. The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains left behind by Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from September 7 to December 10. It peaks this year on the the night of November 4. This year the nearly full moon will block out all but the brightest meteors. But if you are patient, you may still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- November 8 - Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 5:03 AM CST (11:03 UTC). This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Beaver Moon because this was the time of year to set the beaver traps before the swamps and rivers froze. It has also been known as the Frosty Moon and the Dark Moon.
- November 8 - Total Lunar Eclipse. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. The eclipse will be visible throughout eastern Russia, Japan, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and parts of western and central North America. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
- November 9 - Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
- November 17, 18 - Leonids Meteor Shower. The Leonids is an average shower, producing an average of up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak. This shower is unique in that it has a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. The Leonids is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1865. The shower runs annually from November 6-30. It peaks this year on the night of the 17th and morning of the 18th. The second quarter moon will block many of the fainter meteors this year. But the Leonids can be unpredictable so there is still potential for a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Leo, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- November 23 - New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 4:58 PM CST (22:58 UTC). This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
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