What’s Up November 2023

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth

Compiled by Steve Sawyer

Hi, Welcome to Novembers What’s up! We’re now coming to the time of the year when the nights are getting longer with the darkest nights still to come. This month we can look forward to Jupiter being the star of the show as it reaches opposition on the 3rd, and the Leonid meteor shower reaches it’s peak on the 17th. We also have the occultation of Venus taking place on the 9th November, so there’s plenty to see this month.

So what’s on this month?

Sky Diary

Date Time Description
1st   Jupiter closest to Earth
3rd   Jupiter Opposition. Moon near Castor and Pollux
5th   Last quarter Moon
7th   Moon near Regulus
9th   Moon very near Venus (am) a day time occultation
11th   Moon near Spica
13th   New Moon. Uranus opposition
17th   Leonid Meteor shower
18th   Leonid Meteor shower (am)
20th   First Quarter Moon. Moon near Saturn
25th   Moon near Jupiter
26th   Moon near Pleiades
27th   Full Moon
29th   Venus near Spica (am)
30th   Venus near Spica (am) Moon near Castor and Pollux

Sky Maps

looking South on the 15th at 22:00

Looking North on the 15th at 22:00

he two charts above show all DSOs of magnitude 6.0 or brighter. They are both taken from
SkyViewCafe.com and correct for the 15th of the month. For a clickable list of Messier objects with images, use the Wikipedia link.

Novembers Objects

The Sun

At the time of writing there are potential geomagnetic storms forecast for the end of the month/beginning of November. The reason for this is a large coronal hole has opened in the Suns magnetic field which allows the solar wind to escape. This solar wind is heading towards Earth at around 500 km/s.

At the end of October there was a Mercury – Mars connection this was happening too close to the sun to be visible but the ESA/NASA SOHO observatory took some great images.

LASCO Coronagraph | NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center


For more info on the sun and solar weather look here : –

Space Weather Enthusiasts Dashboard | NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center

Auroa Forcasts

A bit US centred but still useful

Aurora Dashboard (Experimental) | NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center

And our own Met-office have an excellent space weather forecast page here Space Weather – Met Office

The Moon

Novembers full moon has several different names each associated with various cultural, traditional or natural observations.

Beaver Moon: This is a common name used in North America, originating from Native American and Colonial times. It’s said that this name comes from the period when beavers are actively preparing for winter, and it was also the time to set beaver traps to ensure a supply of warm furs before the swamps froze.

Frost Moon: This name reflects the onset of cold weather and the first frosts, which are common in many regions during November.

Hunter’s Moon: While the Hunter’s Moon is often associated with October, in some years it may fall in early November. This name comes from the time when people went hunting to stock up on food for the winter months.

Oak Moon: In some pagan traditions, the November full moon is called the Oak Moon, symbolizing the strength and endurance of the mighty oak tree.

Hadley Rille

I thought I’d start including a Lunar feature each month, Novembers feature of choice is Haley Rille. Which is a valley on the Moon, typical of the lunar features known as sinuous rilles.

These rilles are believed to be ancient lava flow channels.. It’s situated in the Hadley–Apennine region on the near side of the Moon, specifically on the eastern edge of Mare Imbrium on a lava plain known as Palus Putredinis.

The rille is a V-shaped gorge that parallels the Apennines along the eastern edge of Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). It meanders down from an elongated depression in the mountains and across the Palus Putredinis (Swamp of Decay), merging with a second rille about 62 miles (100 kilometers) to the north.

Hadley Rille was a primary site of exploration for the Apollo 15 lunar-landing mission. This mission marked the fourth crewed landing on the Moon and the first of the “J-missions” in July 1971

In the image below (taken via Google Earth Pro, free download here https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/earth/about/versions/). You can see the Apollo 15 landing site and the EVA’s undertaken

See the sky diary for this months lunar events as there are some nice viewing opportunities .

A full lunar calendar can be found here :-




Mercury not visible this month


Venus is a morning object and continues to be visible in the early morning skies. The occultation of the planet takes place on the 9th of November from sunrise to around 11am. The Moon will move in front of Venus between around 9:45 – 10:45 am


Not visible this month


Jupiter is the pick of the planets to view this month being both the closest to Earth and at it’s brightest (mag -2.9). With both binoculars and telescopes you’ll be able to easily spot the 4 biggest moons shifting in position night by night.


Jupiter has two types of bands: light-colored bands known as zones, and dark-colored bands called belts. The zones are regions where the gas in Jupiter’s atmosphere is rising upwards, while the belts are regions where the gas is sinking downwards​

The bands are created by strong east-west winds in the planet’s upper atmosphere. The colors in the bands are caused by slight differences in temperature and composition, which dictate what chemicals are present. Bands that are adjacent to each other have winds which move in opposite direction


Saturn can be found in Aquarius and is visible all evening setting at around 11:30pm


Located in Aries and reaching opposition on the 13th, at mag +5.66 may just be visible to the naked eye. But you’ll need a telescope to pick out it’s disk and larger moons.


An evening planet which can be found on the boarder of Aquarius and Pisces and sets at around 2am.

Meteor Showers

There’s one main meteor shower this month which are the..


Active between the 6th to the 30th of November, the Leonids are associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. As the comet orbits the Sun, it leaves a trail of debris along its path. When Earth passes through this debris trail, the particles enter our atmosphere and burn up, creating the meteor shower.

Peaking on the night of the 17th/18th. As you may have guessed the Leonid radiant is located in the constellation Leo. The radiant rises on the 17th at around 22:20 and peaks in altitude at around 5:40am.

The intensity of the Leonid meteor shower can vary greatly from year to year. In some years, the shower produces a meteor storm, where thousands of meteors per hour can be observed. These meteor storms tend to occur in cycles of roughly 33 years, which is the orbital period of comet Tempel-Tuttle. Around 15 meteors per hour are forecast this year.

The Leonids are known for their bright meteors and can also produce occasional fireballs – exceptionally bright meteors that can light up the sky.
Here’s hoping for a clear night!


The comet C/2023 H2 (Lemmon) is expected to be visible and will brighten up to a magnitude of 7.5. It will approach Earth to a distance of 0.2 astronomical units (a.u.) during this month, although it’s expected to fade out rapidly after brightening​

These are the other viewable comets this month, the ones listed below start at mag 7 and go to mag 13.

Name Mag
103P/Hartley 2 7
C/2020 V2 (ZTF) 9
62P/Tsuchinshan 1 12
C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) 12
12P/Pons- Brooks 13
C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) 13
29P/Schwassmann- Wachmann 1 13

Deep Sky (DSO’s)

This month its the turn of Perseus

Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884):

Two open clusters close together

Messier 34 (M34)

An open cluster that’s easily visible in binoculars. M34 was likely discovered by Giovanni Batista Hodierna before 1654 and was later cataloged by Charles Messier in 1764. Messier described it as a cluster of small stars located slightly below the parallel of γ (Andromedae)
This open cluster is large and relatively nearby, situated at an approximate distance of 1,500 light-years from Earth. It has an apparent magnitude of 5.5, making it a bright object in the night sky

NGC 1499

The California Nebula, also designated as NGC 1499 or SH2-220, is an emission nebula situated about 1,000 light-years away from Earth and has earned its name due to its resemblance to the outline of the US State of California in long exposure photographs. It spans almost 2.5° long on the sky but has a very low surface brightness, which can make it challenging to observe visually​.

NGC 1499 was discovered by Edward Barnard in 1885. The nebula resides in the Orion Arm of our Galaxy, and its glow is primarily due to the radiation from the intensely hot, class O star, Xi Persei, which is the brightest star in this nebula​


The Little Dumbbell Nebula, also known as Messier 76 (M76), NGC 650/651, the Barbell Nebula, or the Cork Nebula.
M76 is located at a distance of about 2,500 light-years from Earth. It’s one of only four planetary nebulas listed in Charles Messier’s catalog. The nebula is classified as a bipolar planetary nebula (BPNe), showcasing two distinct lobes of material being ejected from the central star(s).

ISS and other orbiting bits

Date Visible Max Height* Appears Disappears
Sat Oct 28, 4:41 AM 1 min 15° 15° above E 10° above E
Sat Oct 28, 6:14 AM 4 min 57° 37° above SW 10° above E
Sun Oct 29, 5:28 AM 3 min 41° 41° above SE 10° above E
Sun Oct 29, 7:01 AM 6 min 51° 13° above W 10° above ESE
Mon Oct 30, 3:42 AM < 1 min 13° 13° above E 10° above E
Mon Oct 30, 5:14 AM 4 min 56° 36° above WSW 10° above ESE
Tue Oct 31, 4:28 AM 2 min 38° 38° above ESE 10° above E
Tue Oct 31, 6:01 AM 6 min 36° 13° above W 10° above SE
Wed Nov 1, 3:42 AM < 1 min 12° 12° above E 10° above E
Wed Nov 1, 5:15 AM 4 min 44° 37° above SW 10° above ESE
Thu Nov 2, 4:29 AM 2 min 31° 31° above SE 10° above ESE
Thu Nov 2, 6:02 AM 5 min 23° 13° above WSW 10° above SSE
Fri Nov 3, 3:42 AM < 1 min 10° 10° above ESE 10° above ESE
Fri Nov 3, 5:15 AM 3 min 29° 29° above SSW 10° above SE
Sat Nov 4, 4:29 AM 1 min 21° 21° above SE 10° above SE
Sat Nov 4, 6:02 AM 3 min 13° 11° above WSW 10° above S
Sun Nov 5, 5:16 AM 2 min 17° 17° above SSW 10° above S
Mon Nov 6, 4:30 AM < 1 min 10° 10° above SSE 10° above SSE

Use the this NASA website for exact timings for York overpasses. York, England, United Kingdom | Sighting Opportunity | Spot The Station | NASA

Useful Resources







Top 10 Winter Sky Targets for Skywatchers | Space

and of course the sky at night magazine!

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