Skywatch Line for Monday November 9th and Tuesday November 10th, 2020

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday November 9th, and 10th, written by Joe Slomka.

The Sun sets at 4:38 PM; night falls at 6:15. Dawn begins at 5:04 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 6:42.

Monday’s Moon sets during the afternoon. Tuesday’s 24-day-old Moon rises a 12:40 AM in Leo, appears 24% illuminated and sets at 2:32 PM. Wednesday’s Moon, in Virgo, rises at 1:54 AM and also sets during daytime.

Sagittarius continues to house Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn. Jupiter rises at 11:42 AM, shines with minus 2nd magnitude and appears 38 arc-seconds in size; it sets at 8:44 PM. The Great Red Spot can be telescopically observed at 8:22 PM, Tuesday. Dwarf Planet Pluto rises next at 11:47 AM, glimmers with 14th magnitude and appears as a small dot; it also sets at 8:44 PM. Saturn rises at 11:56 AM, smolders with zero magnitude, appears 16 arc-seconds wide and sets at 9:07 PM. Opportunities for observing planet events are becoming rare and should be taken whenever conditions permit.

Aquarius accommodates Neptune and Dwarf Planet 1Ceres. Neptune rises at 2:17 PM, glowing with 7th magnitude, appears 2 arc-seconds broad, highest at 7:54 PM and sets at 1:36 AM. 1Ceres rises at 2:13 PM, sparkles with 8th magnitude, is best observed at 7:55 PM and sets at 1:38 AM. Both may require sky charts, available from astronomy magazines and websites. Ceres lies between Saturn and Neptune.

Mars rises in Pisces at 3:17 PM, sparkling with minus 1st magnitude, sized 36 arc-seconds, highest at 9:34 PM and sets at 3:55 AM. Mars, too, daily dims and shrinks as Earth pulls away from it.

Uranus, in Aries, rises at 10:59 PM, shines with 5th magnitude and appears 3 arc-seconds small. Mars is sited between Neptune and Uranus.

Finally, Venus and Mercury share Virgo. Venus rises first at 3:52 AM, blazing with minus 3rd magnitude, a respectable 12 arc-seconds and appearing 84% lit. Mercury follows by rising at 5 AM, glares with minus zero magnitude, 7 arc-seconds in size, and 57% illuminated. Spica, the brightest star in Virgo lies between the two planets. Both planets set during daytime.

By midnight, the constellations Orion and Taurus are quite high. If a meteor streaks across the sky from the northeast, chances are it belongs to the Taurid Meteor showers. These showers last most of November; the Southern Taurids peaked November 5th, while the Northern Taurids peak on the 12th. These meteor showers are rather weak – the debris of periodic Comet Encke. Taurids are rather slow, traveling about 31 kilometers per second, but very bright. Northern Taurid’s radiant lies near the beautiful Pleiades star cluster; brilliant meteors seem to fly in different directions from that point.

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