All information presented here is taken from my 74 page book
Nightscenes 2018 which is available to order from our web shop and all good book stores! Note we can no longer supply printed copies as we’ve run out but a pdf version is now available from our web shop. A kindle version is also available from Amazon UK
Click on the monthly image to get a larger high resolution view of the night sky set for 53° N (Horncastle, England) but is usable for the UK and Eire. All charts are set for the 1st of the month at 22:00 GMT (10pm) and can be used on the other dates and times shown in each corner of the chart.
Solar System quick summary
For most charts see the buttons at the top for various planets etc.. Charts & images in the text can be clicked to give a larger view.
Jupiter finally slides into the bright twilight and is in conjunction with the Sun on the 26th. Comet 46P/Wirtanen begins to brighten to easy binocular viewing. Saturn, Vesta, Mars, Neptune and Uranus are well placed in the evenings. Minor planet Juno reaches opposition on the 17th viewable in a binocular. Venus is a stunning object in the morning sky close to Spica, whilst Ceres also emerges back into the morning sky nearby. Mercury is not an easy object to view this month, low in evening twilight. The Moon occults several stars (and Pluto!) and on the 11th is particularly close to Saturn. The Northern Taurids meteor shower peaks on the 12th with no Moon to spoil them whilst the Leonids meteor shower peaks on the 17th and is best seen in the early hours once the Moon has set.
The close up chart at right shows the motion of Uranus from October to December indicating the Uranus lies not too far from two similar magnitude stars, mag 5.9 HD 11257 and also mag 6.7 HD 11592. During November, it lies between them on Nov 3rd then closest to HD 11257 on Nov 7th & 8th.
The Moon catches up with Mars which in turn is moving rapidly through Capricornus and into Aquarius during November. Mars is keeping ahead of the twilight at the moment so will be with us in the evenings for a few more months, however, its disk size is shrinking so check that out Mars link in the menu at top. The chart here is set for 7pm beginning on Oct 31st until Nov 30th.
On Nov 2nd the red planet lies above Gamma Cap (image at right was taken on the evening of Nov 2nd with Mars above Gamma Cap) then on the 5th above Delta Cap. On the nights of Nov 13th & 14th Mars slides past Iota Aquarius, note the planet will be far brighter than any of these stars and still shines at mag -
As the chart also shows, the Moon lies close to Delta Cap on the 15th with Mars to their upper left, then on the 16th the Moon is the other side of Mars and almost level with it. Both dates for Mars are shown which gives a good idea of how much the planet moves in just twenty four hours. Mars continues to move through Aquarius and forms a nice triangle with Sigma Aqr and 58 Aqr on the 24th before racing away from them as it heads towards Lambda Aqr and Neptune for a close encounter early in December.
Meanwhile, the moon is close to Saturn on the 11th. The wide field view at far left is looking towards them at ~ 5:30pm in the SSW with the Moon just to the upper left of Saturn. Half hour earlier in the brighter twilight if you have a large binocular or even a small telescope then take a look at them together. You might just spot Saturn’s moon, Titan (T) to Saturn’s lower right so you have our Moon plus the largest moon of Saturn in the view! The telescope view here gives you an idea of what to expect plus an added bonus, the inset also shows that Rhea (R) will also be on that side of Saturn too, if your telescope is big enough to show an extra ‘star’.
Venus races up into the morning twilight sky and appears to be catching up with, but doesn’t quite reach, Spica, Alpha Virgo. However they both gain altitude and can soon be seen in a darker sky as the month progresses. Look towards the ESE horizon ~ forty minutes before sunrise in the first few days of the month. A nice sky arrangement will be on the 6th when the slim crescent Moon joins them as shown here at right. If you aim a telescope at Venus and use moderate to high magnification you will find Venus has a phase similar to that of the Moon adding to the fun! A greatly enlarged Venus is shown on the chart at right.
Minor planet Juno comes to opposition on the same night the Leonids meteor shower peaks so a nice double bill for you. A large scale finder chart for Juno is on the asteroids link button at top but here at left we show its path from Oct 1st to Dec 31st. Juno is close to 32 Eridanus on the 10th/11th November then is at opposition on the 17th when it will shine at mag 7.4 and is visible in a binocular, so this is an ideal time to spot this small world.
The North Taurid meteor shower peaks on the 12th and should be observed especially as New Moon is the day before. It has low rates with a ZHR of 5 so not ideal, but as the conditions are favourable then perhaps worth looking out for them if the sky is clear?
The main shower is the Leonids which as previously noted peaks on the evening of the 17th. Leo rises late in the evening and so the best time to look under reasonably dark skies is after 1am as the Moon sets. The radiant is in the ‘Sickle’ part of Leo and the ZHR is between 10 and 20 so do have a go at looking out for them on the nights of the 17th/18th.
Also look out for the following:
Nov 1st Comet 46P/Wirtanen may be naked eye visibility this month
Nov 2nd Thick crescent Moon lies above Regulus (morning)
Nov 3rd Uranus lies between HD 11257 and HD 11592 (evening)
Nov 5th Crescent Moon is to the left of Porrima (morning)
Nov 8th Uranus again lies close to 5.9 mag star HD 11257 (evening)
Nov 12th Rare occultation of Pluto by Moon (evening) (Large telescope required)
Nov 21st Moon occults Mu Ceti (evening)
Nov 22nd Moon forms wide triangle with M45 and Aldebaran/Hyades (evening)
Nov 23rd Full Moon lies above Aldebaran (early evening)
Nov 27th Moon lies close to M44 and occults Delta Cnc (evening)
Nov 29th Almost last quarter Moon lies close to Regulus (morning twilight)
Nov 30th Last Quarter Moon lies to lower left of Regulus (morning)
Clear skies and happy sky watching.
The UK & Ireland Night Sky for 2018
Webmaster © Paul L Money 2018
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