By Neill Simmons
The highlight of November is the planet Jupiter which is at its brightest in the east after 7 pm. Watch each night as it rises and then see it again at dawn when it sets in the west. Jupiter is in the Zodiac constellation of Aries the Ram. Also in Aries is the planet Uranus which appears very close to Jupiter. See if you can spot this blue planet. On Thanksgiving night go outside and see the wondrous sight of Jupiter and Saturn in the same general area of the night sky. Jupiter’s four biggest Galilean moons are a great sight through binoculars in November. Watch each night and notice the moons move into different positions around the planet. A fun fact is that it takes Jupiter almost 12 Earth years to orbit the Sun once.
Mark November 3 and 4 on your calendar. The Taurid meteor shower will be going on at the same time that Jupiter will be at its brightest. This shower has two peaks and may produce many “fireballs” that may last up to four or five seconds. A “fireball” is an unusually bright meteor and lasts longer in the night sky. Look again on Saturday night the 11th, as the Taurid shower will have a second peak!
In the southern night sky, about a third of the way up, is the planet Saturn. It sits in the constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer. This can be seen with the naked-eye. Saturn has at least 143 moons. Its biggest moon, Titan, is the only moon in the solar system to have an atmosphere. Unfortunately, Saturn’s atmosphere has no oxygen and is deadly to humans.
November 27 brings us the full Beaver Moon. November was the time of the year that the Native American Indians set traps to catch the beavers before their ponds would freeze over for the winter.
Dawn Patrol: Mark the early morning Thursday, November 9, at 5:30 am, when the bright planet Venus and the crescent Moon will appear to be next to each other.
November brings back one of our favorite constellations in the northeast, which is Cassiopeia the queen! It is easy to spot this giant W-shaped asterism formed by five bright stars. An asterism is a pattern or group of stars that is not a constellation.
Vandenberg Space Force Base is planning to launch a rocket on Tuesday, November 7, in the evening. Check their website or Space X as we get closer for exact launch time.
November brings us the “NIGHTFALL STAR PARTY” in the area of Borrego Springs. This is four nights of viewing the night sky through great telescopes! This event starts on Thursday the 9th. It continues on the weekend of the 10th, 11th and 12th. It is sponsored by the Riverside Astronomical Society and the Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes store on Topanga Canyon Blvd. This is a free event.
When not stargazing, Neill Simmons is a Wealth Advisor with LPL Financial in Woodland Hills. If you have any astronomy or financial questions, he may be reached at (818) 936-2626 or emailed at email@example.com.