Manitoba Skies – November 2022
The skies get dark much earlier as we progress towards the winter solstice on December 21st. Jupiter still dominates the evening sky, but Saturn is still visible in the hours after sunset. Mars rises early and it high in the sky by dawn, as it comes to its best viewing opportunity this month. November also features a total lunar eclipse, some meteor activity, and previews of the winter constellations.
Mercury isn’t visible this month but will put in an appearance in the December sky after sunset.
Venus is also not visible in November, but will emerge into the evening sky in December.
Mars rises about 10 p.m. at the beginning of October, between the horns of Taurus the Bull. It’s highest in the pre-dawn hours, shining brightly in the south more than 2/3 of the way from the horizon to the zenith (the point straight overhead). Mars is getting closer and brighter as it heads towards its December 1st opposition, and is already starting to show some detail in a telescope. It is already quite bright and the reddish colour (actually more of a pale orange to the eye) is noticeable – compare it to yellow-white Jupiter for contrast.
Jupiter is already rising in the east-southeast as darkness falls, and stands high in the south a few hours after dark. Jupiter outshines every other star-like object in the sky by a huge margin. A pair of binoculars will reveal several of the planet’s four largest moons, appearing as tiny star-like points in a line with the planet. Telescope views are spectacular – cloud bands, the Great Red Spot, and the constant dance of the moons crisscrossing the planet’s disk and casting their shadows on the cloud tops.
Saturn is low in the south as darkness falls, and sinks lower as the night goes on. A small telescope will show the rings and four or five of the brightest moons, but you’ll want to catch Staurn early before it sinks too low into the thicker air near the horizon. Saturn sets by midnight in early November and around 9 p.m. at the end of the month, so make sure you catch it early in the night for your best view.
Uranus Reaches opposition on November 9th, so it is at its closest and brightest for the year this month. That’s not saying much, though – Uranus is nearly as faint as the faintest stars most people can see from a dark site. Even in a telescope it’s hardly distinguishable from a faint star. During the total lunar eclipse of November 7-8, 2022, Uranus will be within the same binocular field of view as the Moon, making it a good night to try and spot the seventh planet.
Neptune is just to the west (right) of Jupiter this month, visible as a tiny dot in good binoculars or a telescope if you know just where to look – try a website like stellarium-online.org for a good finder chart.
The dwarf planets are all too far away to be seen except in larger telescopes, except for Ceres, which is in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This month, Ceres is in the constellation Leo in the pre-dawn sky, but it’s as faint as Neptune and you’ll need a good start chart, binoculars or a telescope, and a lot of patience to track it down.
All times are given in local time for anywhere around the world at mid-northern latitudes, unless it’s an event which occurs at a specific moment – then the time is given in Central Daylight Time (GMT-5) until November 6, and then in Central Standard Time – the local time for Manitoba. All sky views are created with Stellarium software (stellarium.org).
Tue 1 Nov 2022 (evening sky): Saturn is to the upper right of the First Quarter Moon tonight. The two will just barely fit into the field of view of typical 7×50 binoculars.
Thu 3 Nov 2022 (evening sky):The waxing gibbous moon is below and to the right of Jupiter in the evening sky. Tonight is also November’s first [email protected] show, highlighting the upcoming total lunar eclipse.
Fri 4 Nov 2022 (evening sky):The waxing gibbous moon is close to and below Jupiter in the evening sky. The two will fit comfortably into the field of view of most binoculars.
Sat 5 Nov 2022 (morning sky): The annual South Taurid meteor “shower” peaks in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday. DOn’t let overblown internet reports fool you: this shower produces about a meteor every 15 minutes. However, many of the meteors that do appear are quite large and bright.
Sun 6 Nov 2022 (2 a.m. local time): Daylight Savings Time ends. Set your clock back (earlier) one hour before you go to bed tonight.
(NOTE: All times listed from this point on are in Central Standard Time.)
Tue Nov 8 2022 (morning sky): Full Moon. The early morning hours of Tuesday bring a total lunar eclipse, visible across Manitoba – see the feature article here. Details will appear in an upcoming blog post. As an added bonus, the planet Uranus will be nearby, making it an excellent time to track down the elusive planet. The Planetarium will be live-streaming the eclipse (weather permitting) to the Manitoba Museum’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Thu 10 Nov 2022 (evening sky): The waning gibbous moon is above Mars in the eastern evening sky. As the night progresses, the Moon moves closer to Mars, only about 2 degrees (four moon diameters) apart by daybreak.
Fri 11 Nov 2022 (evening sky): The Manitoba Museum, Planetarium, and Science Gallery are closed until 1 p.m. in honour of Remembrance Day. This evening, the waning gibbous moon stands to the lower left of Mars.
Sat 12 Nov 2022 (morning sky): The Northern Taurid meteor shower peaks. Like its southern cousin (see entry for November 5), it produces a meteor every 15 minutes or so.
Sun 13 Nov 2022: Tonight is the first possible launch of the Artemis I moon mission. Details will be updated once the launch is confirmed.
Wed 16 Nov 2022: Last Quarter Moon
Thu 17 Nov 2022 (evening sky): The annual Leonid meteor shower peaks this evening after sunset. Typical rates are 15-20 meteors per hour, but there may be brief outbursts of up to 50 per hour (or more). The Leonids is known for producing rare meteor “storms”, so it’s always worth watching.
Tue 22 Nov 2022 (morning sky): A thin crescent moon shines low in the southeast just before sunrise. The Moon is just a day before new, making it tough to spot. Binoculars will help spot the slender crescent against the bright twilight sky.
Wed 23 Nov 2022: New Moon
Mon 28 Nov 2022: The crescent moon hangs below Saturn in the evening sky. Look low in the south-west after sunset for a pretty photo-op.
Wed 30 Nov 2022: First Quarter Moon, and the night of Mars’ closest approach to earth this year. Don’t worry if it’s cloudy, though – the view will be basically the same for a couple of weeks on either side of this date.
To find out when the International Space Station and the Tianhe Space Station passes over your location, visit Heavens Above and enter your location.