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.