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Big Dipper

November 2013 Celestial Calendar c/o Dave Mitsky

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November 2013 Celestial Calendar & Observing Notes c/o Dave Mitsky
(calendar data also reproduced in our forum calendar).

*NB: Check out also the resources at the end of Dave's calendar for further reading/information*

All times unless otherwise noted are UT.

11/1 Venus is at greatest eastern elongation (47 degrees) at 8:00; Mercury is in inferior conjunction at 20:00
11/2 The Moon is 0.8 degree north of the first-magnitude star Spica (Alpha Virginis), with an occultation occurring in most of Asia and northern and central Europe, at 7:00; a double Galilean shadow transit begins at 11:14
11/3 Mercury is at the ascending node today; Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends today; the partial phase of a rare hybrid (annular/total) solar eclipse begins at 10:05; New Moon (lunation 1124) occurs at 12:50
11/5 The peak of the Southern Taurid meteor shower (5 to 10 per hour) occurs at 11:00
11/6 A double Galilean shadow transit begins at 0:32; the Moon is at perigee, subtending 32 arc minutes from a distance of 365,361 kilometers (227,025 miles), at 9:00; Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun at 12:00
11/7 Venus is 8 degrees south of the Moon at 1:00; Jupiter is stationary at 7:00
11/8 Mercury is at perihelion today
11/9 Jupiter is at the ascending node today; a double Galilean shadow transit begins at 13:50
11/10 First Quarter Moon occurs at 5:57; the Lunar X (Purbach or Werner Cross), an X-shaped illumination effect involving various rims and ridges between the craters La Caille, Blanchinus, and Purbach, is predicted to occur at 10:05; Mercury is stationary at 14:00
11/11 Neptune is 6 degrees south of the Moon at 11:00
11/12 The peak of the Northern Taurid meteor shower (5 to 10 per hour) occurs at 10:00
11/13 A double Galilean shadow transit begins at 3:09; Neptune is stationary at 22:00
11/14 Uranus is 3 degrees south of the Moon at 3:00
11/16 Asteroid 216 Kleopatra (magnitude +9.5) is at opposition at 13:00
11/17 Full Moon, known as the Beaver or Frost Moon, occurs at 15:16; the peak of the Leonid meteor shower (15 to 20 per hour) occurs at 17:00
11/18 Mercury is at its greatest heliocentric latitude north today; Mercury is at its greatest western elongation (19 degrees) at 3:00
11/22 Jupiter is 5 degrees north of the Moon at 5:00; the Moon is at apogee, subtending 29 arc minutes from a distance of 405,443 kilometers (251,931 miles)
11/25 Mars is at its greatest heliocentric latitude north today; Last Quarter Moon occurs at 19:28
11/26 Mercury is 0.3 degree south of Saturn at 3:00; the Curtiss Cross, an X-shaped illumination effect located between the craters Parry and Gambart, is predicted to occur at 12:27
11/27 Mars is 6 degrees north of the Moon at 16:00
11/28 Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) reaches perihelion at 19:00
11/29 The Moon is 0.9 degree north of the first-magnitude star Spica (Alpha Virginis), with an occultation occurring in the northern Caribbean, Mexico, and North America, at 17:00

Edmund Halley, William Herschel, Harlow Shapley, and Edwin Hubble were born this month.

The first photograph of a meteor was taken on November 26, 1885. The minor planet/comet 2060 Chiron or 95P/Chiron was discovered by Charles Kowal on November 1, 1977.

The peaks of the minor Southern and Northern Taurid meteor showers take place on November 5 and November 12 respectively. These streams form part of the complex associated with Comet 2P/Encke. The Full Moon severely compromises the peak of the Leonid meteor shower on the morning of November 17. Leonid meteors are debris from the periodic comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. Because of their high speed (71 kilometers or 44 miles per second), the Leonids produce a greater percentage of fireballs than most meteor showers.

Information on Iridium flares and passes of the ISS, the Tiangong-1, the X-37B, the HST, and other satellites can be found at http://www.heavens-above.com/

The Moon is 21.0 days old and resides in Virgo on November 1 at 0:00 UT. The Moon reaches its greatest northern declination on November 19 (+19.5 degrees) and its greatest southern declination on November 6 (-19.5 degrees). Longitudinal libration is at a maximum of +5.8 degrees on November 13 and a minimum of -6.8 degrees on November 28. Latitudinal libration is at a maximum of +6.9 degrees on November 23 and a minimum of -6.8 degrees on November 9. The Walther Sunset Ray begins at 12:40 a.m. EST (5:40 UT) on November 25. Browse http://www.lunar-occultations.com/iota/iotandx.htm for information on lunar occultations. Visit http://saberdoesthestars.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/saber-does-the-stars/ for tips on spotting extreme crescent Moons and http://www.curtrenz.com/moon06.html for Full Moon data. Times and dates for the lunar light rays predicted to occur in November are available at http://www.lunar-occultations.com/rlo/rays/rays.htm

The Sun is located in Libra on November 1 at 0:00 UT. A rare hybrid solar eclipse, the 23th of Saros 143, takes place on November 3. Greatest eclipse occurs in the Atlantic southwest of Liberia at 12:47:36 UT. Maximum totality lasts for 1 minutes and 39 seconds. The final moments of the partial eclipse are visible in eastern North America. A portion of the Sun’s lower limb will be in eclipse as the Sun rises. For more on the eclipse, see http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2013.html#SE2013Nov03H and http://eclipse-maps.com/Eclipse-Maps/Gallery/Pages/Annular-total_solar_eclips... and the article on pages 60 to 63 of the November issue of Astronomy.

Brightness, apparent size, illumination, distance from the Earth in astronomical units, and location data for the planets and Pluto on November 1: Mercury (at inferior conjunction, 10.0", 0% illuminated, 0.67 a.u., Libra), Venus (magnitude -4.5, 24.9", 50% illuminated, 0.67 a.u., Ophiuchus), Mars (magnitude +1.5, 4.9", 93% illuminated, 1.92 a.u., Leo), Jupiter (magnitude -2.4, 41.3", 99% illuminated, 4.77 a.u., Gemini), Saturn (magnitude +0.5, 15.3", 100% illuminated, 10.86 a.u., Libra), Uranus (magnitude +5.7, 3.6", 100% illuminated, 19.32 a.u. on November 16, Pisces), Neptune (magnitude +7.9, 2.3", 100% illuminated, 29.81 a.u. on November 16, Aquarius), and Pluto (magnitude +14.2, 0.1", 100% illuminated, 33.22 a.u. on November 16, Sagittarius).

During the evening, Venus can be found in the southwest, Uranus in the southeast, and Neptune in the south. Jupiter lies in the east, Uranus in the southwest, and Neptune in the west at midnight. Mercury is located in the east, Mars in the southeast, Jupiter in the southwest, and Saturn in the southeast in the morning sky.

At midmonth, Mercury is visible during morning twilight, Venus sets at 7:00 p.m. local time, Mars rises at 1:30 a.m. local time, Jupiter rises at 8:00 p.m. and transits at 4:00 a.m. local time, and Saturn is visible during morning twilight late in the month for observers at latitude 40 degrees north.

Mercury reaches inferior conjunction on November 1. Mercury reappears in the eastern sky at dawn by the second week of the month to begin its finest morning apparition of the year. Mercury is stationary on November 10. Greatest western elongation occurs on the night of November 17. Mercury lies less than one degree south of the much fainter Saturn in Libra on the mornings of November 25 and November 26. By the end of the month, the speedy planet brightens to magnitude -0.6.

Venus is 11 degrees above the horizon one hour after sunset on November 1. By month’s end, it stands 15 degrees high at that time. Venus reaches greatest eastern elongation on November 1. It’s situated two degrees north of the galactic center on that date. On November 6, Venus is farther south (27 degrees 10 arc minutes) than it has been since 1930. Venus is three degrees south of the bright globular cluster M22 on November 13. It lies eight degrees south of the waning crescent Moon on the evening of November 6. Venus shines brightly at magnitude -4.8 by the end of November.

Mars is located 2.5 degrees south of the tenth-magnitude barred spiral galaxy M95 in Leo as the month begins. The Red Planet departs Leo and enters Virgo on November 25. It lies six degrees north of the waning crescent Moon on November 27. Mars grows to 5.6 arc seconds in apparent size and brightens to magnitude +1.2 by month’s end.

Jupiter’s apparent diameter increases to 44.8 arc seconds and its brightness to magnitude -2.6 over the course of the month. It commences retrograde motion on November 7. Jupiter is situated five degrees north of the gibbous Moon on November 22. The shadow of Ganymede follows the Galilean satellite Callisto as it transits Jupiter on the night of November 14. Callisto’s transit ends at 11:32 p.m. EST (4:32 UT on November 15). Ganymede’s shadow exits the planet at 12:25 a.m. EST (5:25 UT) on November 15. A transit by Ganymede commences a bit more than an hour later, at 1:42 a.m. EST (6:42 UT). Double shadow transits take place on November 2, 6, 9, and 13 (UT dates). Browse http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/planets/3304091.html?page=1&... to determine transits of the central meridian by the Great Red Spot. Data on the Galilean satellites is available at http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/javascript/3307071.html#

Saturn is conjunction with the Sun on November 6. It can be seen again in late November in the constellation of Libra during morning twilight. For information on the satellites of Saturn, browse http://skytonight.com/observing/objects/javascript/3308506.html

Uranus is in retrograde near the border of Pisces and Cetus. It’s located approximately two degrees east of the sixth-magnitude star 44 Piscium.

Neptune resumes prograde or direct motion on November 13. The eighth planet resides in central Aquarius, about three degrees west of the fifth-magnitude star Sigma Aquarii and two degrees east of the fifth-magnitude star 38 Aquarii this month.

Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune can be found on page 81 of the August issue of Astronomy, on page 50 of the October issue of Sky & Telescope, and at

The dwarf planet Pluto is not visible again until next year.

For more on the planets and how to locate them, browse http://www.nakedeyeplanets.com/

Asteroid 20 Massalia shines at ninth magnitude as it continues on a southwestward course through southern Aries. It lies a bit more than two degrees south of the sixth-magnitude star 19 Arietis on the nights of November 11 and November 12. Asteroid 216 Kleopatra is at opposition in Taurus on November 16. For information on this year’s bright asteroids and upcoming asteroid occultation events respectively, consult http://www.curtrenz.com/asteroids and http://asteroidoccultation.com/

Comet C/2012 (ISON) travels southeastward through the constellations of Leo, Virgo, and Libra this month. The comet’s relative motion increases from approximately one degree per day as November begins to three degrees per day by mid-month and five degrees per day at perihelion. Comet ISON is positioned some 52 degrees from the Sun on November 1. It enters Virgo on November 6 and remains in that constellation until November 22. Comet ISON passes 0.4 degree south-southwest of the fourth-magnitude star Beta Virginis and 4.5 degrees south-southwest of the eighth-magnitude asteroid 4 Vesta on November 7, one degree northeast of the eleventh-magnitude spiral galaxy NGC 4030 on November 9, four degrees west-southwest of the third-magnitude star Porrima (Gamma Virginis) on November 12, 0.8 degree northwest of the eleventh-magnitude spiral galaxy NGC 4593 on November 13, and eight degrees west-northwest of the first-magnitude star Spica on November 15. The comet may shine at fifth magnitude as it glides within two degrees of Spica on the mornings of November 17 and November 18. It lies 1.3 degrees east-southeast of Spica on November 18, one day after the Full Moon. Comet ISON and Comet 2P/Encke are five degrees apart on November 21. On November 23, Comet ISON is located five degrees south of Mercury and may be as bright as third magnitude. Comet ISON, Comet 2P/Encke, the third-magnitude star Zubenelgenubi (Alpha Librae), Mercury, and Saturn lie within six degrees of one another that morning. The comet passes five degrees south of Saturn the next morning. Comet ISON may shine at first magnitude on November 26, when it’s positioned nine degrees from Mercury and ten degrees from the Sun. On November 27, it passes within seven degrees of the Sun and may shine at zero magnitude or brighter but will not be visible due to the glare of the Sun. Comet ISON reaches perihelion at approximately 2:00 p.m. EST (19:00 UT) on November 28, coming within 1,165,000 kilometers (724,000 miles) of the surface of the Sun. It passes one degree southwest of the Sun at that time. If this "fresh" comet survives its perihelion passage, it may reach a peak magnitude of -4.5 but will be very difficult to observe safely. Comet ISON heads northward after perihelion and lies six degrees north of the Sun on November 30, two days before New Moon. An ephemeris is available at http://scully.cfa.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/returnprepeph.cgi?d=c&o=CK12S010 and finder charts at http://www.astronomy.com/magazine/events/comet-ison and on page 51 of the October issue of Astronomy and page 50 of the November issue of Sky & Telescope. Consult http://theskylive.com/ison-tracker to learn the comet’s current position and http://www.skyandtelescope.com/community/skyblog/observingblog/Comet-ISON-Upd... for updates on its status. Click on http://www.cometison2013.co.uk/perihelion-and-distance/ and http://www.astronomy.com/observing/sky-events/2013/10/observe-comet-ison-at-i... for additional information on Comet ISON. Comet 2P/Encke may brighten to fifth magnitude as it heads southeastward through Virgo. The periodic comet passes less than two degrees north of the third-magnitude star Delta Virginis on November 4 and within seven degrees of the first-magnitude star Spica from November 11 to November 13. The recently discovered Comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) shines at ninth magnitude in the constellation of Cancer at mid-month. In late October, Comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) experienced an unexpected outburst similar to that of Comet 17P/Holmes in 2007, brightening from fourteenth to eighth magnitude in Coma Berenices. Consult http://scully.cfa.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/returnprepeph.cgi?d=c&o=CK12X010 for an ephemeris and http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/comets/2012_X1.pdf for a finder chart. For additional information on comets visible in November, browse http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/ and http://www.aerith.net/comet/future-n.html

Browse http://astrocast.tv/ for an informative video on astronomical events taking place this month.

A free star map for November can be downloaded at http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html

Two stars with exoplanetary systems, Upsilon Andromedae (magnitude 4.1) and 51 Andromedae (magnitude 5.5), can be seen this month without optical aid.

The famous eclipsing variable star Algol (Beta Persei) is at a minimum, decreasing in magnitude from 2.1 to 3.4, on November 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 23, 26, and 29. Consult http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/variablestars/Minima_of_Algo... for the times of the eclipses. For more on Algol, see http://stars.astro.illinois.edu/sow/Algol.html and http://www.solstation.com/stars2/algol3.htm

Seventy binary and multiple stars for November: Otto Struve 514, Alpha Andromedae (Alpheratz), Struve 3, h1947, Struve 19, Struve 24, 26 Andromedae, Struve 40, Pi Andromedae, Delta Andromedae, Struve 47, Eta Andromedae, Struve 79, Beta Andromedae (Mirach), Struve 108, Struve 179, South 404 (Andromeda); 1 Arietis, Struve 178, Gamma Arietis, Lambda Arietis (Mesarthim) (Aries); Struve 3053, Struve 3057, Struve 16, Struve 30, Otto Struve 16, Alpha Cassiopeiae (Schedar), Struve 59, Eta Cassiopeiae, Burnham 1, Struve 70, Otto Struve 23, h1088, Struve 163, Struve 170, Struve 182 (Cassiopeia); 34 Piscium, Struve 8, 35 Piscium, Struve 15, 38 Piscium, 42 Piscium, 49 Piscium, 51 Piscium, 55 Piscium, 65 Piscium, Psi Piscium, Otto Struve 22, Struve 98, Otto Struve 26, Phi Piscium, Zeta Piscium, h636, Otto Struve 30, Struve 122, Struve 132, Otto Struve 31, 100 Piscium, Struve 145, 107 Piscium, h644 (Pisces); h5440, Kappa-1 Sculptoris, h1949, h3442, h3379, Tau Sculptoris, Epsilon Sculptoris (Sculptor); Struve 143, Struve 183 (Triangulum)

Notable carbon star for November: Z Piscium

Seventy deep-sky objects for November: M31, M32, M110, NGC 252, NGC 404, NGC 752 (Andromeda); NGC 680, NGC 691, NGC 697, NGC 772 (Aries); Cr 463, IC 1747, K14, M103, NGC 129, NGC 133, NGC 146, NGC 185, NGC 225, NGC 281, NGC 278, NGC 381, NGC 436, NGC 457, NGC 559, NGC 637, NGC 654, NGC 659, NGC 663, Tr 1 (Cassiopeia); NGC 40, NGC 188 (Cepheus); NGC 151, NGC 175, NGC 178, NGC 210, NGC 227, NGC 245, NGC 246, NGC 247, NGC 274, NGC 337, NGC 578, NGC 584, NGC 596, NGC 615, NGC 636, NGC 681, NGC 720, NGC 779 (Cetus); NGC 7814 (Pegasus); M76, St 4 (Perseus); M74, NGC 128, NGC 194, NGC 488, NGC 524 (Pisces); NGC 24, NGC 55, NGC 134, NGC 150, NGC 253, NGC 254, NGC 288, NGC 289, NGC 439, NGC 613 (Sculptor); M33, NGC 672 (Triangulum)

Top ten binocular deep-sky objects for November: M31, M33, M103, NGC 225, NGC 288, NGC 253, NGC 457, NGC 654, NGC 663, NGC 752

Top ten deep-sky objects for November: M31, M32, M33, M76, M103, M110, NGC 40, NGC 253, NGC 457, NGC 752

Challenge deep-sky object for November: IC 59 (Cassiopeia)

The objects listed above are located between 0:00 and 2:00 hours of right ascension.

*Suggestions for further reading/information:*
Check out the following two sites (both are primarily UK-based) - each of which contain excellent celestial guides for the month ahead:

Astronomical Calendar
(site includes a short video highlighting some of the main celestial events for the month ahead).

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