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Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Andalucia, Spain

NIGHT SKIES

Events during November
14th - Mercury is at greatest elongation (23š).
25th - Partial Solar Eclipse - Visible from South Africa, Antarctica, Tasmania and New Zealand. Only Antarctica sees a significant eclipse, varying from 35% in South Africa and Tasmania to 90%, with the Sun on the horizon, near the South American side of the Antarctic.

MOON: Full - 10th, New - 25th, Apogee - 406,180 kilometres - 8th, Perigee - 359,690 kilometres - 23rd.

Meteor Showers during November
Taurids meteor shower
The Taurids meteor shower lasts throughout November with slow meteors, some bright, from below Pleiades (M45 in the constellation of Taurus). Peak rate is from 2nd to 7th November which, between a waxing First Quarter and Full Moon, means that moonlight will interfere with observation at this time.

The Leonids meteor shower is at its height from the 15th to 20th November with the radiant just above Regulus (star 1 in the constellation of Leo). Peak rate is on the 18th when the Moon will be at Last Quarter and interfere with observation.

The best way to observe meteors is to lie outdoors in a reclining chair or sun-lounger. Try to take in as much of the sky as possible. When you see a meteor mentally trace it backwards until you arrive at the radiant point.

Mercury
Astronomy, Mythology & Astrology of Mercury Click for more information
Mercury reaches greatest elongation on November 14th. For observors in tropical and southern latitudes it is visible as an evening object until the last week of November. For observors in the southern hemisphere this is an interesting apparition of Mercury due to its proximity to Venus during the first two weeks of November.

The best times to observe Mercury in the northen hemisphere are when it is an evening star in the spring and a morning star in the autumn. In midsummer the lighter skies make visibility difficult near the horizon.

Venus
Astronomy, Mythology & Astrology of Venus Click for more information
Venus, magnitude -3.9, is visible in the western sky after sunset for observors in the tropics and the southern hemisphere. It will make a brilliant spectacle in the sky, next to the much fainter Mercury, for the first two weeks of November.

Observors in northern latitudes will have to wait until December for a true Venusian (evening) spectacle.

Transit On the 8th June 2004, Venus was at inferior conjunction and transited the sun. Transits of Venus are rare, taking place at greater than 100 year intervals and usually in pairs. The last two transits of Venus were in 1874 and 1882. 2004's transit lasted 6 hours, the total event visible from Europe as a small black disc crossing the lower part of the Sun from left to right. The next transit will be on 5th June 2012. After that, transits of Venus won't occur again until 2117 and 2125.

Before and after inferior conjuction, when Venus is the closest it comes to the Earth, are the times at which the planet is most brilliant and can be seen setting or rising 4 hours after or before the Sun.
Mars
Astronomy, Mythology & Astrology of Mars Click for more information
Mars brightens from +1.1 to +0.7 magnitude during November. Mars remains in Leo and by the end of November is rising before midnight from the northern hemisphere and slightly after midnight for observors in the southern hemisphere.

There is no opposition of Mars in 2011.

At opposition on the 28th August 2003, Mars was only 56 million kilometres from the Earth. It showed a disc of 25.1 seconds of arc across which is almost as large as it can ever appear. Mars started 2003 at 310 million kilometres from the earth at 4.5 seconds of arc and 1.6 magnitude. By opposition it brightened 50 times to reach -2.9 magnitude but faded to 0 magnitude by December. Even to the naked eye Mars was a striking object in the summer and autumn sky, easily identifiable by its reddish hue in an area of sky poor in bright stars. Mars will not be as close again until 2018.

These favourable oppositions occur every 15 or 17 years but other oppositions occur at average intervals of 2 years 2 months during which time the planet makes a complete circle of the Earth. In general Mars is observable every other year, being too close to the sun for favourable conditions during other times. Brightness at opposition varies from -1.0 to -2.9 magnitude, and when furthest from the earth it fades to 1.7 magnitude. The planet can be identified by its orange-red colour.

As in 2003, Mars comes nearest to the Earth at oppositions at the end of August. At these times it can be brighter than Jupiter, although low in the sky in Aquarius for northern observors. In the northern hemisphere, the planet may be better seen at oppostions during autumn and winter months when it is higher in the sky.

Jupiter
Astronomy, Mythology & Astrology of Jupiter Click for more information
Jupiter is just past opposition and is still visible and bright all night long. The planet is in Aries but its retrograde motion carries it back to the border with Pisces during November.

After spending the past six years in the southern skies, Jupiter moved north of the celestial equator on February 5th 2011 to spend the next six years in northern skies.

Varying from 603 (at its closest) to 770 million kilometres from the sun, the difference in brightness between opposition and conjunction varies less than with Mars, from about -2.9 to -1.8 magnitude. Always a bright planet, Jupiter comes to opposition a month later each year, moving approximately from one zodiacal constellation to the next.

The 4 largest of Jupiterīs 60 moons are easily visible through binoculars or a small telescope, ranging from 4.6 to 5.6 in magnitude. The innermost, Io, takes 1.8 days to orbit the planet making its motion easily detectable within a few minutes.

Saturn
Astronomy, Mythology & Astrology of Saturn Click for more information
Saturn passed through superior conjunction in mid-October and is now becoming visible low in the eastern sky just before dawn. The planet remains in Virgo at magnitude +0.9.

Saturn moves more slowly than Jupiter and can remain in the same constellation for several years. The brightness of the planet depends on the aspect of its rings, as well as its distance from Earth and the Sun.

The planet crossed the equator into the northern hemisphere in 1996 where it remained until 2010 with the southern side of the ring system facing Earth. Because of its distance, its brightness varies little between opposition and conjunction but is affected by the huge ring system. Seen edge on the rings contribute little or no light.

Every 15 years the plane of Saturn's rings passes through the Sun, illuminating first the north and then the south side. For a few days the rings are edge on to the Sun. About the same time the Earth passes through the ring plane and, depending on the Earth's position, this may happen just once or 3 times. During 1995/96 there was a triple crossing and the next will be 2038/39. The last single crossing was in 2009 and the next will be in 2025.

Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is visible in small telescopes orbiting outside of the ring system.

Uranus
Astronomy, Mythology & Astrology of Uranus Click for more information
Uranus remains in Pisces with a magnitude of +5.7. Although barely visible to the naked eye, it is easily located with binoculars.

Brightness varies only slightly, reaching a maximum of +5.6 magnitude at opposition. Although this is bright enough to see with the naked eye, identifying it against the stars can be difficult. At closest approach, Uranus is 2,856 million kilometres (1,775 million miles) from Earth.

Neptune
Astronomy, Mythology & Astrology of Neptune Click for more information
Neptune is a morning object in Aquarius, visible in binoculars or a small telescope.

Neptune has an average magnitude of 7.9 which varies little with changing distance. At its closest, Neptune is 4,341 million kilometres (2,697 million miles) from Earth.

Pluto
Astronomy, Mythology & Astrology of Pluto Click for more information
No longer an offical planet and never brighter than +13 magnitude, Pluto is only visible through powerful telescopes.
Moon
Astronomy, Mythology & Astrology of the Moon Click for more information
November
First quarter: 2nd
Full moon: 10th
Last quarter: 18th
New moon: 25th
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