During the month of November, the night sky is predicted to have a beautiful and expansive display of planets, constellations, and meteor showers. With Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, and Venus lighting up the sky early in the month, along with the Virgo and Leo constellations and the Leonid meteors flashing by later in the month, we are sure to have a wonderful display of heavenly fireworks.
After the sun sets in the evening, look to the West to find a bright Saturn at 0 magnitude setting below the horizon around 6:30 p.m. In the middle of the month, the planet sets around 5:40 p.m., and by the end of the month, it is hidden in the sun’s glare as it slowly sinks out of sight to reappear the next day. If you stay up late, you will be rewarded with the amazing sight of Jupiter rising in the East at approximately 2:15 a.m. Jupiter will go from bright at -1.8 magnitude to brighter at -1.9 magnitude towards the middle of this month.
According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, Venus is approaching Mars and predicted to conjunct on November 3. They both are estimated to rise at 2:15 and are less than a degree apart from each other. You can find a somewhat dim Mars at 1.7 magnitude, and a very bright Venus at -4.5 magnitude.
As well as these planets, the constellations of Virgo and Leo are also supposed to be gliding across the sky this November. The more notable of the two, Leo, rises around 1 a.m., and the back legs of the lion are going to be near where Jupiter rises in the East. On Thursday, November 26, people in Canada and the Northern U.S. can see the moon pass in front of the red giant star Aldebaran, and the exact times of the disappearance and reappearance vary on your location. Also, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, the November full moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise. This is the only night in the month when the moon is only in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.
Probably the most exciting event of November is the probable return of the Leonid meteor shower around November 17 to November 18. The Leonid showers have been notable for their occasional ability to produce amazing torrential showers that truly light up the sky. This year, they are predicted to produce a normal shower, with about 20 meteors every hour for these two days. If you manage to stay awake for an hour after midnight, you might be lucky enough to see a handful of these shooting stars streaking across your field of view until they slowly fade into darkness.
Overall, November should be a good month for watching the night sky and to enjoy the beauty of the cosmos.