EVENTS AND NAKED EYE VIEWING
NOTE: All Sky Charts Courtesy of SkyGuide App Unless Otherwise noted.
November 13 (Monday) Venus-Jupiter Near Occultation. For the last month, Venus has been shining prominently in the predawn sky as the "Morning Star." However, it's faster orbital speed is widening its gap between us causing it to race ahead to where it'll be behind the Sun on 9 January 2018. Meanwhile, as Venus appears to be diving down toward the Sun, Jupiter, the king of the planets, will meet the goddess of beauty and love. This near touching of the two brightest planets in the night sky will surely catch your attention. The Venus/Jupiter pair will rise at 5:45 AM MST, only 52 minutes before sunrise. So, hope for a cloudless eastern horizon. You'll also see a thin waning crescent Moon 45 degrees above the ESE horizon. If you're lucky and have a good set of binoculars, you may catch Mars about half way between the Moon and Venus/Jupiter. The morning twilight may be too bright to see the nearly 2nd magnitude red planet, but Venus and Jupiter together should be bright enough to shine through the dimly lit early dawn sky.
November 5 (Sunday) "Fall Back." I used to say, "Set your clocks back one hour before going to bed on Saturday night." But now, your smartphone and a lot of digital clocks do that automatically. There movement in the New Mexico state legislature to permanently change to daylight savings time year round. It'll be interesting to see how that will work out. Meanwhile we are back on standard time until next Spring.
When Venus pops up above the ESE horizon on this morning, you'll see that it looks a bit elongated. That's because it'll be side by side with planet Jupiter.
November 3 to 4 (Friday-Saturday) Full Beaver Moon. Winter is coming. The Full Moons in September and October celebrate the bounty of the harvest. This one is for the hunt for beaver pelts. Today's modern synthetics provide clothing for us that are the envy of anyone wearing furs for they are light weight, breath well, and are easy to clean and maintain.
November 17 (Friday) Leonid Meteor Shower. Yes, this is a shower best viewed in the early predawn hours. In fact, the predicted peak (20 meteors per hour) is at 11AM MST. Of course the Sun will be high in the late morning sky by that time, so your best bet is to view them after the constellation Leo The Lion rises. It's just above the eastern horizon at 1:40 AM and continues to rise until an hour before sunrise at 5:40 AM when Leo is about 55 degrees above the ESE horizon. So, 1:40-5:40 AM is your best practical viewing window with the better chance of seeing more meteors closer to 5:40 AM. If you plan to view them in an open area, I recommend being outside with feet facing ESE from 4:40-5:40. If you're a cold weather wuss like me and you have a big picture window with a view of the eastern horizon, set up a comfortable viewing chair and scan through your picture window from 1:40-2:40 AM. The meteors you'll see will probably be very bright as they are striking Earth's atmosphere at over 50,000 mph!
This is a compromise time for viewing the Leonids from inside your house through an eastern facing window. It'll be cold, so I figure anyone wishing to see some of these bits of dusty debris from the tail of comet 55P/Temple-Tuttle will view them from the comfort of their homes. The radiant will come from almost the middle of the head (sickle) of Leo.