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2016 November

THE SOLAR SYSTEM IN NOVEMBER 2016

Dates and times shown are NZDT (UT + 13 hours).

Rise and set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ.

SUNRISE, SUNSET and TWILIGHT TIMES in November

November 1 NZST November 30 NZDT
morning evening morning evening
SUN: rise: 6.05am, set: 8.04pm rise: 5.40am, set: 8.39pm
Twilights
Civil: starts: 5.38am, ends: 8.32pm starts: 5.10am, ends: 9.10pm
Nautical: starts: 5.02am, ends: 9.08pm starts: 4.29am, ends: 9.51pm
Astro: starts: 4.22am, ends: 9.48pm starts: 3.41am, ends:10.39pm

NOVEMBER PHASES OF THE MOON (times as shown by GUIDE)

First quarter: November 8 at 8.51 am (Nov 7, 19:51 UT)
Full moon: November 15 at 2.52 am (Nov 14, 13:52 UT)
Last quarter November 21 at 9.33 pm ( 8:33 UT)
New moon: November 30 at 1.18 am (Nov 29, 12:18 UT)

THE PLANETS in NOVEMBER 2016

Mercury will be visible, low, early evening near the end of November while brilliant Venus will be easily visible until late evening all month. Mars will be even better placed. Saturn starts the month close to Venus but slips lower in the sky during November to disappear into the evening twilight by the end of the month. Meanwhile Jupiter moves up into the morning sky.

MERCURY is an evening object during November. Having been at superior conjunction with the Sun on the 28th, the planet will set less than 15 minutes after the Sun at the beginning of the month, making it unobservable. By the month’s end the time difference will have increased to an hour and three-quarters. Thus towards the end of November the planet, at magnitude -0.5, should be visible once the sky is sufficiently dark. Look for it very low to the southwest in the direction of the set Sun.

VENUS, by contrast to Mercury, will be visible all evening, not setting until almost midnight by the end of the month. During November Venus moves across Ophiuchus, passing close to theta Oph, magnitude 3.2, on the 5th. The planet moves into Sagittarius on the 9th. On the 17th it will be within 20 arc-minutes of lambda Sgr, mag 2.8 and on the 23rd less than a degree from Nunki, sigma Sgr. At magnitude 2.1, Nunki is the brightest star in the handle of the “teapot”.

At the beginning of November, Venus will be a few degrees above Saturn. The crescent moon joins the pair on the 3rd. The moon will be at about the same altitude as Saturn, with Venus some 5 degrees above them.

MARS will be higher than Venus in the evening sky setting just before 2 am on the 1st and just after 1 am on the 30th. The planet starts November in Sagittarius, close to the position Venus will occupy at the end of the month. During November, Mars will move into Capricornus on the 8th and be well across the constellation by the 30th.

Mars dims slightly during November, from magnitude 0.4 to 0.6 as the Earth moves further from the plant. On the 6th, the moon, as a thick crescent, will be 6 degrees below Mars.

SATURN will remain in Ophiuchus all month. At the beginning of November it will set nearly 3 hours after the Sun, so remaining easily visible with an altitude of 18 degrees at the end of nautical twilight. By the end of November, Saturn will set 37 minutes after the Sun, only 6 minutes after the end of civil twilight, so making it very difficult to see.

JUPITER is the only one of the naked eye planets in the November morning sky. It rises an hour before the Sun on the 1st, 2 hours and 20 minutes before it on the 30th. The planet is in Virgo all month, by the end of November it will be 8 degrees from Spica, at mag 1.1 the brightest star in the constellation.

On the morning of the 25th the crescent moon will be 5.5 deg to the left of Jupiter. The following morning th moon, showing a rather thinner crescent, will be 6.5 degrees from Spica.

OUTER PLANETS

URANUS, at magnitude 5.7, remains in Pisces and is observable all evening. By the 30th Uranus will set 2 hours before sunrise. On the evening of the 12 the near full moon will be 2 degrees above the planet.

NEPTUNE is in Aquarius at magnitude 7.9 throughout November. It sets about 4 am on the 1st, and 2 am by the end of November. On the night of November 9/10 the planet will be occulted by the moon an event visible from most of Scandinavia and a large part of Russia. From NZ the moon will be 2 degrees below Neptune as seen in the early morning sky of the 10th.

PLUTO at magnitude 14.4 to 14.5 continues in Sagittarius as an early evening object, setting about 1 am on the 1st and 11.15 pm on the 30th. On November 5 the crescent moon will be 3.5 degrees from Pluto, with the planet itself half the moon’s diameter from the 3.7 magnitude star omega Sgr.

MINOR PLANETS

(1) CERES is in Cetus during November with its magnitude fading from 7.6 to 8.1.
Ceres is about 11 degrees from Uranus and, on the 12th, 10 degrees from the moon.

(18) MELPOMENE is also in Cetus between 7 and 8 degrees from Ceres. The asteroid, diameter 148 km, fades from magnitude 8.1 to 8.8 during November. Melpomene is on the opposite side of Ceres to Uranus.

Both Ceres and Melpomene are visible all evening not setting until well after midnight.

(4) VESTA is in Cancer throughout November rising about 2am on the 1st and shortly after midnight on the 30th. Its magnitude brightens from 7.9 to 7.4 during the month. Vesta’s path in Cancer will take it towards M44, the Beehive cluster. On the 30th it will be 2 degrees from M44 but it is then stationary. Subsequently it will move away again from the cluster during December.

Brian Loader