All month: There's a sky full of evening planets in early November, including all the bright ones, but you may have a problem seeing them. Some are too close to the sun; others aren't bright enough to be outstanding; and all are low in our sky when they're above the horizon.
Mercury and Venus improve their positions during the month. Mercury may be seen after sundown on the 24th, as it approaches its greatest elongation in the evening sky. Venus can be viewed on any night that has a clear western horizon, about half an hour to an hour after sunset, low in the southwest. Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are on their way out of the evening sky. Mars has faded almost to a second-magnitude object, not at all distinguished. Jupiter is quite bright, but the sun is closing on it fast. Saturn can be forgotten this month, but should quickly become a good morning star in December.
Events in the calendar below are given in local times unless otherwise indicated.
Nov. 1: The evening moon shows up at sundown near the border of Aquarius with Capricornus, just one day past first quarter.
Nov. 2-7: The waxing moon grows fatter and stays up later as it works its way north with the ecliptic and past the vernal equinox. On the 2nd and 3rd the moon is in Aquarius; on the 4th it is at apogee (farthest from the earth) and crosses into Pisces. Moving in and out between Pisces and Cetus during the day, it crosses firmly into Pisces the night of the 5th, then into Aries on the 7th.
Nov. 8: Full moon occurs at 12:43 p.m., EST, but on the nighttime side of the earth a penumbral eclipse of the moon occurs. Not very exciting to watch; only a little darkening of the moon takes place.
Nov. 9-10: The moon is in Taurus both nights; the reddish star below it is Aldebaran.
Nov. 11: The sun catches up to slow-moving Saturn in Libra today, and the planet shifts from the evening sky to morning.
Nov. 13: By 9:30 or 10 the waning gibbous moon should be well up in the east. The two stars in line to its right are Pollux and Castor in Gemini.
Nov. 15-16: The moon rises in Leo about 11 p.m. on the 15th and reaches last-quarter phase at 1:59 a.m., EST, on the 16th. The star near it is Regulus.
Nov. 16-17: This is the best night to view the Leonid meteors, but the moon is up after midnight and may interfere. Many of the meteors are swift and bright , however, although it takes patience to see them.
Nov. 18: A most unusual event occurs today when Venus passes in front of the fourth-magnitude star, Lambda Sagittarii, occulting the star as seen from the earth. Similar to a solar eclipse, the shadow cast by Venus in the star's light sweeps past the earth, blotting out the star for about 50 minutes. Unfortunately , Venus is below the horizon at the time for most of North America.
Nov. 20: This is the last morning to see the late crescent moon before it disappears into the sun's glow.
Nov. 22: New moon, in Libra, is at 5:57 p.m., EST. A total solar eclipse, lasting almost two minutes, occurs in New Guinea and the tropical Pacific.
Nov. 24: The moon occults Mercury over the South Atlantic. Venus passes Jupiter in Sagittarius. Look for them low in the southwest soon after sunset, Venus below and brighter.
Nov. 25: As the sky around the new crescent moon darkens, look for Venus and Jupiter above it. Mercury is at greatest easterly elongation, but not well placed as an evening star.
Nov. 27: You may just be able to find Mars, much dimmer than it was last spring, above the moon.
Nov. 29-30: The moon ends the month in Aquarius. First quarter is at 3 a.m., EST, on the 30th.