Monthly Skywatchers' Page

For London and the UK

Sun And Nine Planets
The Sun and eight major planets (plus KBO Pluto) to scale. Earth is third planet from the left.


Introduction

The location of the stars and constellations can be learnt throughout a single year from books, mobile phone applications or planetarium software. Each month of the year, the same stars are visible from a given location. Different stars and constellations are visible as the year progresses. For example, in London, the constellation of Orion is always visible in the evenings of winter months of January and February. Scorpius is visible in the summer months of June and July around midnight.

The planets resemble stars except that, generally, they do not twinkle. Unlike the stars whose patterns are fixed, planets wander through the sky changing their positions amongst the starry background. This means that their periods of visibility change as the relative position of the Earth, Sun and planet vary. In one year Mars may be visible in August at midnight. In another year it may be behind the Sun and invisible from Earth during August.

This page gives the details of visibility for the five naked eye planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. It also gives information about comets, meteor showers and non-regular phenomena like eclipses, transits and occultations.

The Observers' Glossary explains the terms used. Alternatively run the mouse cursor over terms in maroon.


The descriptions below are for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, especially London and the United Kingdom.
The planetary information is valid for any location at the same or similar Latitude (51.5°N).
Note that a degree in the sky is twice the apparent diameter of the Moon.

All times on this page are London (UK) times. This is normally GMT (Greenwich Mean Time also known as Universal Time).
In the United Kingdom, the clocks go forward by one hour for British Summer Time (BST) between mid March and late October.
A 24 hour clock is used so that 7pm is written 19:00.


November 2017

Mercury

Mercury

Mercury is too close to the Sun to be seen this month.

Venus

Venus

Venus is a brilliant morning object rising two hours before the Sun throughout the month. Look for the star, Spica (brightest star of Virgo) close to the planet at the beginning of the month.

On 13th, Venus passes very close to Jupiter which is just pulling out from behind the Sun. The best time to view this conjunction is between 6am and 6:30am.

The pair of planets is joined by the very thin crescent Moon on 17th but this will be low down and in the bright twilight.

The planet is now moving in towards the Sun and becomes lost in the morning twilight by the end of the month.

Mars

Mars

Mars rises four hours before the Sun throughout the November.

The planet spends the month moving through Virgo but it is not very bright. Look for it above the more brilliant Venus throughout the month or close to the Moon on 15th. The planet's red colour should be easily seen with the naked eye.

Towards the end of November, Mars will be seen close to the star, Spica.

Mars close to the Moon
Looking South East at 6:30pm on 15th. Mars is to the right of the Moon.
The star Spica is below the Moon. Venus and Jupiter are close to the horizon.

Jupiter

Jupiter

Jupiter was in conjunction last month and begins to appear in the morning sky after the first ten days of November.

The emerging planet meets Venus on its way in towards the Sun on 13th. The very thin crescent Moon joins the pair on 17th.

Jupiter is among the stars of Libra.

Saturn

Saturn

Saturn is now lost in the evening twilight and cannot be observed.

Sun

The Sun

The Sun continues to move Southwards and this causes the days to continue getting shorter. At the beginning of November, the amount of daylight from London is 9 hours 38 minutes. By the end of the month this has dropped to 8 hours 12 minutes. This is a loss of about one and half hours.

The time of sunset retreats from 16:33 at the beginning of the month to 15:55 at month end.

During November the time of midday is at its earliest (11:44 for the first two weeks of the month). This shunts what little daylight there is into the morning sky.

For example, on the 5th, sunrise is at 07:01 (giving 4 hours 59 minutes of daylight before 12:00 noon). Sunset time is at 16:26 (which gives 4 hours 26 minutes of daylight after 12:00 noon). This means there are 33 minutes more daylight in the morning than in the evening.

The Sun enters in Libra on 1st moving into Scorpius on 23rd. On 29th the Sun moves into Ophiuchus, a constellation ignored by astrologers.

Note that the Zodiac dates do not tie in with astrology as astrologers are using dates from two thousand years ago.

Date Sunrise Midday Sunset Length of Day Sun's Noon Altitude Notes
01-Nov
06:54
11:44
16:33
09h 38m
24.0°
 
02-Nov
06:56
11:44
16:31
09h 35m
23.6°
 
03-Nov
06:57
11:44
16:29
09h 31m
23.3°
 
04-Nov
06:59
11:44
16:27
09h 28m
23.0°
Full Moon at 05:23 in Cetus
05-Nov
07:01
11:44
16:26
09h 24m
22.7°
 
06-Nov
07:03
11:44
16:24
09h 21m
22.4°
 
07-Nov
07:04
11:44
16:22
09h 18m
22.1°
 
08-Nov
07:06
11:44
16:21
09h 14m
21.8°
 
09-Nov
07:08
11:44
16:19
09h 11m
21.5°
 
10-Nov
07:10
11:44
16:18
09h 08m
21.3°
Morning Half Moon
11-Nov
07:11
11:44
16:16
09h 04m
21.0°
 
12-Nov
07:13
11:44
16:15
09h 01m
20.7°
9 hour day
13-Nov
07:15
11:44
16:13
08h 58m
20.5°
Venus close to Jupiter
14-Nov
07:17
11:44
16:12
08h 55m
20.2°
Final day of earliest time of Noon
15-Nov
07:18
11:45
16:10
08h 52m
19.9°
Moon close to Mars
16-Nov
07:20
11:45
16:09
08h 49m
19.7°
 
17-Nov
07:22
11:45
16:08
08h 46m
19.4°
Moon close to Jupiter and Venus
18-Nov
07:23
11:45
16:07
08h 43m
19.2°
New Moon at 11:42
19-Nov
07:25
11:45
16:05
08h 40m
19.0°
 
20-Nov
07:27
11:46
16:04
08h 37m
18.8°
 
21-Nov
07:28
11:46
16:03
08h 34m
18.5°
 
22-Nov
07:30
11:46
16:02
08h 32m
18.3°
 
23-Nov
07:32
11:46
16:01
08h 29m
18.1°
 
24-Nov
07:33
11:47
16:00
08h 26m
17.9°
4pm sunset
25-Nov
07:35
11:47
15:59
08h 24m
17.7°
 
26-Nov
07:36
11:47
15:58
08h 21m
17.5°
Evening Half Moon
27-Nov
07:38
11:48
15:57
08h 19m
17.3°
 
28-Nov
07:39
11:48
15:57
08h 17m
17.2°
 
29-Nov
07:41
11:48
15:56
08h 15m
17.0°
 
30-Nov
07:42
11:49
15:55
08h 12m
16.8°
 

Moon

The Moon

The Moon will be close to Mars on 15th.

The Moon will be close to Venus on 17th.

The Moon will be close to Jupiter on 17th.


It is easy to depend on astronomy or CMMS software to perform daily computational activities and to keep track of data. Astronomy enthusiasts can choose from a wide variety of software options, while facility managers may have fewer options if they require CMMS software for their business.


Next Month

Jupiter and Mars in the morning. Solstice.


All times on this page are London (UK) times.

Sources: Astronomy Now magazine, Cybersky, Starry Night Pro, USA Naval Observatory and UK Nautical Almanac Office.

© 2017 KryssTal
All sky images by Starry Night Pro Plus 6
Eclipse predictions (maps) courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC


Books From Amazon.co.uk


Observers' Glossary

An explanation of the terms used by sky observers. Includes descriptions of how the objects of the solar system behave in the sky as seen from Earth (especially the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes).


KryssTal Related Pages

Tables and data about the Sun, Earth, Moon, planets, asteroids and comets. All terms used are explained.

An account of how various properties of stars can be measured by studying starlight. Includes brightness, distance, luminosity, temperature, mass, radius, density and an introduction to the H-R Diagram.

A table containing a list of the 20 brightest stars in the Earth's sky. Explanations of all the associated terms like magnitude, spectral type and radial velocity.

A detailed account about eclipses, transits and occultations. These are irregular phenomena that can be observed in the sky. Includes eclipse trips around the world with photos and well as photos of recent transists of Mercury and Venus.

An easy-to-understand scaling of the Universe in space. Distances in space are represented by the time light takes to travel there.

An easy-to-understand scaling of the Universe in time. The chronology of the Universe is compared to a real year.

How humanity came from believing Creation Myths to postulating the Inflationary Big Bang Theory. The key stages in our understanding of our place in the cosmos and the people who broadened our understanding.

What do we mean by the words day, week, month, year? Who invented our calendar? When did the third millennium begin? The relation between time and astronomy.

The force that moves apples and planets. A short introduction to the ideas of Kepler and Newton that culminated with the theory of Universal Gravitation.

A look at the mathematics of a sphere with a section on sundials and the equation of time.


External Skywatching Links

These links will open in a separate window

StarDate Online
An excellent online skywatchers' magazine featuring detailed monthly information about astronomical events.

Astronomy Picture of the Day
A different image each day with an extensive archive and explanations.

Society for Popular Astronomy
Monthly planet and star gazing details with maps for young people.

Telescope House
A London based source of astronomical equipment, telescopes, software, maps and books.

Southern Sky Watch
Sky watchers information for the southern hemisphere.

Starry Night Pro
Superb planetarium software. Simulate the sky from anywhere on the Earth and any time.