Astronomical SIGHTS Coming to a SKY NEAR YOU!

Graphics c/o Starry Night Education

This page updated Nov 19 and includes events to end of 2017.

See the HOME page or COMING EVENTS for detailed information.

VIS. COMETS page has more details and finder charts for currently visible comets.

Sky Sights: November-December 2017:

Jupiter has disappeared into sunset glare and is now passing behind the Sun into the morning sky. By the first week of November, it re-appears in the morning sky. Then on Nov 13, it has a nice close approach with Venus (see entry for Nov 13 below).

Saturn is very low in the SW sky at sunset and disappears in twilight glow about an hour later. It has been the showpiece for summer star parties but now is only visible in evening twilight. Catch a view while you can.
Venus is in the morning sky in the constellation Virgo and is located in a nice part of the sky which includes two other planets Jupiter and Mars. See the Sky Sights below (Oct 17 and Nov 13).

A summary of the entire 2017 year of ASTRONOMY events can be found here:
ASTRONOMY 2017 (amended for Nov)

An astronomical calendar for 2017 (with diagrams of sky sights like those below) is available for download from Alan Dyer's website here: (look at the bottom of the "about Alan" page).

November - December 2017 Sky Sights

Nov 5: Sun: Aldebaran occulted by Gibbous Moon
Aldebaran continues the series of occultations with a nice dark sky event Sunday night Nov 5. Look for it to disappear behind the bright edge of the Moon around 8:05 pm Eastern Standard Time (you did turn your clock back at 2 am didn’t you?) and reappearing at a thin dark trailing limb (so in dark sky) at about 9:00 pm.
This is the second last in the series, the last Aldebaran occultation for N. America occurs Dec 30. The next series begins 16 years from now.


Nov 13: Mon: Venus - Jupiter a quarter degree apart!
The two brightest planets in the sky get real close in the morning sky reaching minimum separation while the pair are still out of view. By the time Venus and Jupiter clear the eastern horizon, they are 17 min 12 seconds of arc apart and this slowly increases as twilight progresses. Both should be visible during daylight hours but a GOTO scope will help to locate them. The moons of Jupiter will be nicely lined up as shown on the diagram from Sky Safari below showing the group at 6:05 am EST Nov 13 when they are less than half a degree above the horizon. The sky will brighten as the pair gets higher, but these are bright planets and should continue to be visible as light levels increase.


Nov 14 & 15: Tue&Wed: ISS transits crescent Moon!
Twice on successive mornings, the illuminated ISS will pass across the thin crescent Moon and both time, you can see the ISS well ahead of time and follow it down until it crosses the moon. On the first morning Nov 14 at 5:58 am EST, it becomes visible high in the NW and when overhead reaches a brightness equal to Venus (-3.8!) before it fades somewhat and crosses the 4-day-before-new crescent above the SE horizon. On the second morning Nov 15 at 5:08 am EST, the ISS is invisible until it pops into view from behind of the Earth’s shadow about 30 degrees above the Moon. Details are found on the BAS WEBLOG page.

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 8.51.51 PM.............Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 8.52.38 PM

Nov 17: Fri: Leonid Meteor Shower
This is an off-year for the Leonids and expect only 20/hour, but the Moon is pretty much absent from the sky (only 1% illuminated) so this is a good year to view Leonids since moonlight will not interfere. The Leonids parent comet, Comet Temple-Tuttle, has left a trail of debris and every 33-34 years, Earth encounters the main mass of dust and we get a Leonid storm of several thousand meteors per minute! That last happened in 1966, then a more subdued storm at the end of the millennium. Our next storm is predicted for sometime around 2031 to 2032. [I can hardly wait!]


Nov 24: Fri: ISS transits FQ Moon
This lunar transit occurs across an almost FQ Moon but the ISS is not illuminated this time as it was earlier in November. So you have to be watching at the right time (8:18 pm EST ) for the passage of the ISS silhouette, Centreline of the transit is from Cape Croker to Red Bay and crosses the peninsula with Hope Bay just inside the northern edge of the limit line. This is a relatively long transit of about 3 seconds (about 1 second silhouetted against the bright Moon) with the moon 15° above the western horizon. Time is Nov 24 at 8:18 pm EST.

Nov 24 lunar

Dec 8: Mon: ISS transits Sun 2:33 pm EST
This solar transit occurs in mid-afternoon at 2:33 pm EST and lasts about 3 seconds as well but the outline of ISS should be visible for the entire time. The Sun is just about in the same position in the sky as the lunar transit two weeks earlier. This time make sure you use solar filters on your telescope. This is the Sun you are looking at! Area of visibility is about the same coincidentally as the lunar transit of Nov 24, but centred over Hope Bay and Cape Croker. Howdenvale is well-placed.

Dec 8 solar

Dec 12: Mon: ISS transits Sun 12:41 pm EST
Another solar transit occurs with a track of visibility farther south this time and visible Port Elgin to Big Bay. The Sun is a bit higher and the transit is fast -only 1,5 seconds. Be looking at 12:41 pm EST or so. Once again check out for exact times for your location. Once again, proper solar filters for your telescope are required.

Dec 12 solar PE

Dec 14: Wed: Geminid Meteor Shower
This is possibly the best shower of the year based on total numbers of meteors expected about 120 per hour. The Moon is a thin last crescent and does not rise until 4 am or so locally and even by midnight Gemini is 50 degrees high in the SE sky. This will be good shower to observe in the evening once it is dark and Gemini appears above the eastern horizon (about 6 pm). The shower’s source is unique, an asteroid names 3200 Phaethon and not a comet which is the usual origin of meteor showers. The particles entering the atmosphere look like other meteors except that they tend to be on the slow side, 36 km’s vs 60 km/s for the Perseids, for ex. and sometime they produce fireballs which may have some colour to them. This is not well-observed shower in Canada because of the weather, of course, but if it is clear, it can be quite a show. The radiant of the shower is shown in the Sky and Telescope chart below. BAS members can gather at 9 pm at the Fox Observatory to view Geminids even though it is a school night. Note that members are allowed only at 9 pm and later.


Dec 30: Sat: Aldebaran occulted by Gibbous Moon -last chance!
This is the last Aldebaran occupation visible from North America for a long time (The next Aldebaran series starts in 2033 but there are other stars that will be occulted. Not many are as bright, however ,and we are getting into a dry spell of bright star occultations. On Dec 30, look for Aldebaran to disappear on the dark leading edge of the pre-full (gibbous) Moon at 6:19 pm EST and reappear on the bright trailing edge at 7:20 pm EST. Times can vary by several minutes depending on where you are located, so run a planetarium program like Starry Night or Sky Safari to get your local times. The disappearance and reappearance occurs on the opposite limbs from the event of Nov 5 as seen in the diagram below.


Watch this space for 2018 Sky Sights coming soon!