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Nighttrek Report: What to See in the November Sky

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By Neill Simmons

The highlight of November is the “Total Eclipse of the Moon” in the early morning of November 8.  When you go to sleep on the November 7, set the alarm for 1:45 am.  At that time the Moon will have a thin crescent of light as it moves toward totality at 2:16 am.  
The Moon will be totally covered by Earth’s shadow and will start becoming red.  The middle of the eclipse will come at 3 am, and, at that time,  the Moon will be completely red and look like Mars!  Totality begins to end at 3:41 am as a silver of light returns.  The Moon will be back to normal by 4:49 am.  Make sure to see this total lunar eclipse because the next one in Southern California will not be until March of 2025.  
DAWN PATROL:  If you are up at 5 am, the beautiful “Winter Hexagon” is a great sight in the west with the planet Mars nearby.  The Winter Hexagon is a large area containing several constellations with six of the brightest stars: Rigel, Aldebaran, Capella, Pollux, Procyon, and Sirius.
Every night in November the red planet Mars rises in the east after 8 pm. Mars is getting brighter and brighter as Earth is moving closer to the red planet.  At this time, Mars is in the zodiac constellation  of “Taurus the Bull.”  Near Mars there is another red star in this constellation, Aldebaran, which is the eye of the bull.
BINOCULAR OBSERVING:   As the Earth gets closer to Mars, the white polar caps can be seen with  binoculars during November.
NASA NEWS:   Ingenuity, the little helicopter flying on Mars, now has 34 missions under its belt.  NASA is so impressed that they have plans to send two more little helicopters to Mars on future missions.  Good job Ingenuity!
The King of Planets, Jupiter,  is magnificent at this time of the year.  Just walk outside, look up and there it is in the southern night sky. 
Mark your calendar to look up on November 4 when Jupiter and the Moon appear to be very close together in the night sky.  Also,  look for the ring planet, Saturn,  which is to the right of Jupiter.  Notice a lonely star, Fomalhaut, below and between these two planets, that forms a triangle.  It is one of the brightest stars in the sky.   Many astronomers call it the “Autumn Star.” Fomalhaut is the 18th  brightest star in the night sky and is located in the southern constellation, Piscis Austrians.  Its name is derived from the Arabic “Fum al Hut” meaning the “mouth of a fish.”  
The October Space X rocket launch was a good show. Early Wednesday, November 9, Vandenberg Space Force Base plans to do it again at 1:25 am.  Vandenberg will launch a large Atlas V 401 rocket with a satellite system on board. 
November brings the Leonids meteor shower  on the  night of the 17th into the morning of the 18th.  These meteors are very fast and you will have a good chance of seeing  fireballs which are usually visible for three or more seconds.  Bring a comfy chair and wrap up to stay warm.
The beautiful thin crescent Moon shows up on Saturday the 26th and on Sunday the 27th.
When not stargazing, Neill Simmons is a Wealth Manager with LPL Financial in Woodland Hills. If you have any astronomy or financial questions, he may be reached at (818) 936-2626 or email at neill.simmons@lpl.com.


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