Mountain Standard Time resumes on November 4. Set clocks back
one hour. Sunrise and sunset times are calculated for a
flat horizon. Actual times may vary depending upon the
surrounding landscape. Dawn occurs in three stages. Civil
twilight provides adequate light for movement and begins
about one-half hour before sunrise. Nautical twilight reveals
shapes but not detail and begins approximately one hour
before sunrise. Astronomical twilight illuminates the sky
with a faint glow. It occurs about one and one-half hours
before sunrise. The same progression applies to dusk.
November begins with a waning third quarter moon. New Moon
occurs at 4:04pm on November 9. Full Moon occurs on November
24 two minutes after the moon sets at 7:28am. The moon
rendezvous with most of the planets this month. On November
3 at 6:00am a waning crescent moon is located about a
finger’s width south of Saturn. On November 5 at
the same time look for the moon about two finger widths
south of Venus On November 7-8 at 6:30am a very thin
crescent moon passes below Mercury, about the width of
a fist. On November 12 a waxing crescent moon appears
in the early evening sky to the west, about three finger
widths south of Jupiter. On November 17, the first quarter
moon sits at the eastern corner of Capricornus near Neptune.
On November 18 the moon reaches Aquarius with the blue-green
planet Uranus at its eastern edge. On November 26 at
9:00pm the moon is less than a finger’s width from
Mars in the eastern sky. On November 30 the third quarter
moon rejoins Saturn just before midnight in the eastern
Two meteor showers from the vicinity of Taurus overlap in
early November. The Southern Taurids peak on November 5
and the Northern Taurids on November 12. The Taurids, while
not prolific, are known to produce bright, slow-moving
meteors. An early setting moon will ensure dark skies for
these early evening meteor showers. The Leonid Meteor Shower
extends from November 10-23. Best viewing for this shower
is after midnight, to the east, on November 18. Expect
10-15 meteors per hour. After the 18th, a waxing gibbous
moon will interfere with viewing.
What Starlight Reveals
When astronomers pass starlight through a spectrometer, they
can identify the elements in that star. The spectrometer
separates light into a spectrum, just like a prism does.
Each element produces a unique spectral pattern with dark
absorption lines at specific wavelengths. The pattern of
absorption lines serves as a fingerprint for each element.
Most stars contain about 90% hydrogen and 10% helium with
trace amounts of heavier elements. Hydrogen and helium were
formed in the first few minutes after the Big Bang and later
formed the first stars. Main-sequence stars, like the sun,
continue to produce helium through nuclear fusion of hydrogen.
Stars with greater mass than the sun are hot enough to fuse
helium nuclei into heavier elements: carbon, oxygen, neon,
magnesium, silicon, sulfur, argon, calcium, titanium, chromium,
iron, and nickel. Heavier metals are produced when massive
stars collapse in supernova explosions. Elements produced
from these massive stars become part of the interstellar
dust which may later condense into gas clouds that form new
stars and planets. Supernovae, along with radioactive decay,
are the source of the elements found on Earth.
Jupiter - sinks into the western sky
earlier each night; by the end of the month, Jupiter
sets, with Sagittarius, before the end of astronomical
Mars - look for a bright, red
disk near Gemini around 10:00pm in early November;
rises earlier each evening and will nearly double
in brightness by the end of the month.
Mercury - at its most visible
for the year during the first three weeks of
November; look eastward in the early morning
sky; on November 7-8 look for Mercury around
6:00am just above a very thin crescent moon;
the nearby bright star is Spica in the constellation
Saturn - rises before Venus
and is fairly high in the early dawn sky throughout
November; in Leo.
Venus - brightest object in
the morning sky; between Saturn and Mercury;
rises before 4:00am throughout November.
CONSTELLATIONS OF NOVEMBER