Tonight's Sky

November 2019 Highlights.

Month highlights

This month a chance to see four solar system bodies in the same part of the sky occurs when a crescent moon, Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter all appear in the west on the evening of 29th.

Moon phases

First Quarter Monday 4th
Full Moon Wednesday 13th
Third Quarter Wednesday 20th
New Moon Wednesday 27th

The Moon will be at apogee (furthest from Earth) on Thu 7th at 405,058 km and perigee (closest to Earth) on Sat 23rd at 366,716 km.


Mercury is very low in the west in the evening in early November but then become lost in twilight as it moves closer to the Sun.

Venus is low in the west in the evening and moves steadily higher through Libra, Scorpius, and then Sagittarius.

Mars should be visible from mid-month very low in the east before sunrise.

Jupiter remains bright and clear in the west during the evening to the right of Scorpius and will then cross into Sagittarius.

Saturn remains visible in Sagittarius, the Archer. Look to the right of the handle of the upside down ‘Teapot’ (which forms part of the archer’s bow and arrow).


The Taurids is an old meteor stream peaking in the first week of November. They can be bright, slow moving, with occasional colourful fireballs. One branch appears near the star cluster Pleiades and the other near the red star Aldebaran in Taurus which rises in the north-east around 10pm. Around 10 per hour can be seen, but every few years activity increases with brighter meteors and more fireballs.

The Leonids occur from 13th – 20th peaking on the morning of the 18th. They result from Comet Tempel-Tuttle that orbits every 33 years. It reached perihelion (closest to Sun) in 1998 after which thousands were seen globally per hour. Since then the rate has been about 15 per hour. They appear in the direction of Leo, the lion, which rises in the north-east around 4am, are fast and leave lots of trains that can last several minutes.

Stars & Constellations

Scorpius and Sagittarius are in the south-west after sunset. Much later in the night the Pleiades star cluster, Taurusthe bull and Orionthe hunter will rise one by one in the east.

The Southern Cross is now upside down during the early evening with The Two Pointers to the right and the bright star Canopus to the left.

More easily seen this month is the most distant object visible to the naked eye, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31 in Charles Messier’s catalogue). It appears as a faint smudge just above the northern horizon, sitting below and to the right of the square of Pegasus, the winged horse.

On this day

1st 1963, then largest radio telescope, the Puerto Rico Arecibo Observatory, opens utilising a natural valley and transceiver suspended from pylons on nearby peaks.

3rd 1957, Laika, a 3-year husky-Samoyd dog, became the first animal into orbit in Sputnik 2 (USSR). While never intended to return to Earth, she expired from heat stress after only a few hours.

3rd 1973Mariner 10 (USA) launches to Mercury, the first probe to use a gravitational ‘slingshot’ around a planet to reach an objective (in this case, Venus).

4th 2003, largest solar flare recorded causes radio blackouts and saturates satellites, and was associated with a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) many times larger than Earth leaving the Sun at 2,300 kph.

8th 1656, birth of second Astronomer Royal Edmund Halley who calculated several historical comets to be the same. He successfully predicted its regular 76-year return. It posthumously carries his name.

9th 1934, birth of American astrophysicist and science communicator Carl Sagan.

12th 2014, First landing on a comet and direct surface images of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko by Philae lander from ESA’s Rosetta probe.

12th 1980Voyager 1 (USA) has historic close encounter with Saturn at 124,000km. It then flew by moon Titan which precluded going on to Uranus or Neptune, both however visited by its twin Voyager 2.

13th 1971Mariner 9 (USA) is the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, Mars. Months of a planet-wide dust storm finally cleared to allow pictures of the surface.

15th 1738, discoverer of Uranus and infrared radiation, William Herschel, is born.

14th 2003Sedna, a TNO (Trans Neptunian Object) is discovered in a 11,400 year elongated orbit, one of the most distant objects known in the Solar System.

16th 1965Venera 3 (USSR) is launched to Venus becoming the first probe to reach the surface of another world.

16th 1974, first radio message sent into space (USA/Puerto Rico). ‘Arecibo Message’ to star cluster M13 25,000 light years away took 3 min. Its 1,679 binary 1’s and 0’s if arranged in 23 columns and 73 rows will reveal visual information (prime numbers 23 x 73 = 1,679).

17th 1970Lunokhod 1 (‘Moon Walker’, USSR) first remote-controlled moon rover. Delivered by lander Luna 17, it drove 10km and lasted 321 Earth days, far longer than the expected 3 months.

20th 1998, First module for the ISS, Russia’s 12 metre Zaryu (‘Sunrise’) or Functional Cargo Block, is launched beginning a multi-module multi-year assembly of the space station in low Earth orbit.

26th 2012Curiosity rover (USA) arrives in Mars’ Gale Crater after a high-speed entry and first use of an innovative final landing technique – the ‘sky crane’.

27th 1971, first probe to reach the Martian surface is Mars 2 (USSR) although it crashes in the process.

27th 2001, first detection of composition of exoplanet’s atmosphere – by Hubble Telescope for planet Osiris orbiting a sun-like star 150 light years away.

28th 1967, Cambridge postgraduate student Susan Jocelyn Bell discovers the first pulsar, initially named LGM1 for “little green men”. Its regular 1.3 sec radio pulse revealed these pulsating stars to be rapidly spinning neutron stars.

29th 1967, Australia becomes the third nation after USSR, USA and France to launch a satellite from its own territory. The 45kg WRESAT-1 (Weapons Research Establishment Satellite) made 642 polar orbits until re-entry 11 days later.

30th 1609, Galileo studies the Moon with his improved telescope, and while not the first to do so he was the first to explain mountains and craters, and chart lunar features and their heights.

30th 1954, Ann Elizabeth Hodges of Alabama, USA, becomes the first person injured by a meteorite. She was badly bruised by a 5kg rock that crashed through her roof, deflected off a radio cabinet, and hit her while she was asleep on the couch.

   Your Guide To The Southern Skies.

The Milky Way is a vast white streak across the vault of the sky. Aussie & New Zealand stargazers will find that it contains features unique to viewers in the southern hemisphere.

Sights like the Southern Cross, Coal Sack and Jewel Box twinkle only here. And the upside-down outlook means that constellations can appear quite different from the shapes for which they were named. With this article we take a N.Z. perspective but it all relates to Australia as well. All the footage (above) was taken in Western Australia from the Pinnacles to Nanup and Mullalyup. Australian Skies from Paul Pichugin on Vimeo.

Southern hemisphere skies offer dazzling spectacles for night viewing, some of which cannot be seen from the northern hemisphere. Clear skies are usual over much of New Zealand, and it is possible to get fine views of the Milky Way and its neighbouring galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds. The most recognisable constellation (pattern of stars) in the sky is the Southern Cross, along with its associated features, the Jewel Box and Coal Sack.

Many of the sights that are visible from the northern hemisphere can also be seen from New Zealand. The constellations of Orion and Scorpius are prominent at certain times of the year. However, New Zealand is too far south to see Polaris, the pole star, or the Great Bear (Ursa Major).

The changing night sky

As the sun sets and darkness descends, a number of different features become visible in the sky: the moon, thousands of stars, sometimes one or more planets, faint hazy patches of light and dusty dark regions. Our view of the sky changes over the course of a single night. Some stars appear to rise in the east and set in the west, while others are visible throughout the evening, but seem to circle clockwise around a common point. It is not the stars that are moving during the night, but the viewer: as the earth spins on its axis, different parts of the sky come into view.

Our view of the sky also changes during the course of a year. As the earth orbits the sun, new regions of the sky become visible from one season to the next.

An upside-down view

Northern hemisphere observers consider New Zealanders to have an upside-down view of the sky. People standing in each hemisphere are upside down in respect to each other, and have an inverted view of the same object out in space. For this reason it is difficult for southern hemisphere viewers to pick out the shapes for which many constellations were named.

Southern stars

Coalsack-ESO-B06Life and death of stars

Stars are great spheres of intensely hot gas that are undergoing nuclear reactions (similar to those in hydrogen bombs). Stars form in vast clouds of gas and dust known as nebulae, and have a long lifespan – a few million to tens of billions of years – before they exhaust their supply of fuel. The largest stars are about 120 times the mass of the sun, and are known as supergiants. The smallest, known as red dwarfs, are about one-tenth the sun’s mass. The manner in which stars die depends on their size. The products of many star deaths are also known as nebulae, for they are also great clouds of gas and dust, but in this case ejected from the periphery of an exploding star.

The Southern Cross

Visible year round from New Zealand, the Southern Cross constellation (Crux) and its associates the Pointers are among the brightest stars in the southern sky. Four bright stars form the ends of an imaginary cross with a long axis and short crossbar. The long axis always points in the direction of the South Celestial Pole, and for this reason it serves as a night-time navigational aid.

The Coal Sack and Jewel Box

Along the eastern edge of the Southern Cross is a dark region called the Coal Sack nebula. It is a star nursery, where young stars are forming from dense clouds of glowing gas and dust compressed under intense gravitational force. Just above the Coal Sack and alongside the second brightest star of the Southern Cross is the Jewel Box, a colourful cluster of about 50 stars that can be seen with a telescope.

Easy as ABC

The ABC is a useful way of remembering the defining stars of the southern hemisphere: A is for Alpha Centauri, B is Beta Centauri, and C is the cross.

The Pointers

The Centaurus constellation lies to the east of the Southern Cross. Its two brightest stars, Alpha and Beta Centauri, are commonly known as the Pointers, because an imaginary line between the two stars points towards the cross.

Alpha Centauri appears as the third brightest star in the night sky, after Sirius and Canopus. It shines with a yellow light, and is not a single star, but a triple star system. Two stars orbit around each other every 80 years and both are visible with a good telescope. The third star lies far beyond them, and is so small and faint that it was only discovered in 1915. This is Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun at only 4.22 light years away. It appears to orbit the other two stars every 500,000 years.

Beta Centauri, the 11th brightest star, shines with a blue-white light. It is the nearest of the pointers to the Southern Cross, and is 526 light years from earth. It is a double star system, consisting of two giant stars about 15 times bigger than the sun.

Getting to Grips With Your New Telescope.

New Scope

Amateur astronomers set up their telescopes at dusk.CORBIS

Were you lucky enough to get a new telescope for Christmas? If so, I’m guessing that if you’re reading this then you may be getting annoyed that you can’t see anything through it. Or you may still have to unwrap the thing, daunted by the astronomical learning curve that lies ahead. In nearby galaxy M82, a star is exploding … and you can see it! M82 is actually filled with stars being created and dying.

Using a telescope for the first time isn’t always as easy as it sounds, but fear not! This Discovery News “Telescope Primer” will get you started so you can not only enjoy ‘first light,’ but also get your new ‘scope ready for searching out countless wonders in the night sky.

Which Telescope?

First things first, what kind of telescope is it? Take a look down the open end and you will either see 1) a lens, 2) a lens and a mirror or, 3) just a mirror. If it’s either of the first two then you can skip the next bit.

If you have a telescope with just mirrors (3) then you have a reflecting telescope and you will need to check its collimation! Oh no! I hear you cry. But don’t panic! It’s not as scary as it sounds; collimation just means you need to check the mirrors to see if they are all aligned properly. If they are not then you will not get the best image.

Rough collimation can be done during the day but more accurate alignment needs to be done with a star. Details of performing collimation are quite lengthy but I have a good description on my website so head over there to check yours. Assuming you have now collimated your reflecting telescope then the rest is now the same whatever telescope you have.

Stay Focused and Centered

The next thing you need to do is get the focus in roughly the right place. If you fail to do this, it becomes a “chicken and egg situation”: you can’t focus on a star at night because you cannot find one and you cannot find one because you are out of focus! Take your telescope out during the day and point it at a tree or chimney a long way off in the distance; the further the better.

Now place a low-power eyepiece in the telescope and adjust the focus until it is nice and sharp. Re-center the object in the eyepiece and now take a look through the finder telescope (the small telescope on the side). You will probably notice that the object you were looking at through the main telescope is not in the center of the telescope. Adjust the screw on the side of the finder telescope to bring the object in the center.

You are aiming to have it simultaneously in the center of the main telescope and the finder telescope. Doing this will greatly aide finding things at night. Now that you are roughly focused, and your finder telescope is aligned, you are ready to wait until nightfall. If you can, it is best to leave your telescope outside as night falls so it cools down with the dropping air temperature, this prevents condensation (dew) forming on the optics.

Once night falls, it should simply be a case of lining up the finder telescope on your target and getting it nicely centered. A good tip here is to get down low and sight along the edge of the telescope tube to line up roughly. Then it should be visible within the finder telescope or at least, very close to it. Move it to the center and hey presto! you should have the target in the field of view of the main telescope.

If you have more than one eyepiece, try swapping for a higher power eyepiece. You will find the atmospheric conditions need to be pretty good for higher powered eyepieces so there will only be a few nights where you can use the higher power, and you will have to rely on low to medium power eyepieces for the other nights.

If you follow these simple steps then I guarantee you will not only be able to find objects in the night sky but line up your telescope to get a closer look. You will be amazed at the views that even a small beginners telescope will show you so get out there and enjoy the Cosmos.


Ten Ways To Appreciate The Night Sky

Anything you may find of interest in life takes on greater meaning and may keep your attention longer if you take steps to appreciate it more. This is easily said of interest in the night sky – whether you want to call it amateur astronomy or simply loving the stars above. Here are 10 suggestions to go from a casual interest to calling yourself a dedicated observer.

1. Learn the constellations Evening star charts for each month of the year are readily found in astronomy magazines available at the news-stand, as well as in books we sell on this webpage. Becoming familiar with the patterns among the stars helps you to organize the heavens. Also become acquainted with the phases and motions of the moon and planets.

2. Read Learn about the universe. There are many good books available, as well as magazine articles and websites. Find out what astronomers have found out there, and the theories that have developed and are continually tested as mankind finds out more. There seem to be more questions than answers, which helps keep us going. Be inspired and learn how you can have a look for yourself – for free, and hopefully as close as your backyard.

3. Keep a journal A “stargazing log” of some kind helps you keep track of what you observed, and when. Depending on how far you’d like to go with it, you can keep the dates, hours, descriptions, sketches and impressions of the celestial phenomena that you discovered. Enrich your time by looking up more information about what you just chronicled.

4. Keep warm! You’ll last longer out there if you are dressed for the cold night air; it doesn’t take long to feel cold standing outside! If you use a telescope, find a way to look through it with as little strain as possible.

5. Adapt eyes Have your eyes adapted for the dark. It takes about 10 minutes or so to see the stars well after coming out from a bright house. It can help to let your eyes adjust for a few minutes in a partially lit room. Hint: If you plan to look at the moon in a telescope and also some stars, look at the stars first. Once you train your telescope at the bright moon, you will lose any dark adaptation that you had. A lunar filter fitted to the eyepiece helps.

6. Clubs Get to know others of similar interest. Visit an astaronomy club or planetarium. They sometimes have public observing sessions scheduled.

7. Equipment Before buying a telescope, try binoculars. You will always find them useful, and for some uses, they are better to use than a telescope. When buying a telescope, it may be wise to start small, and get advice from others who have experience. A poor-quality telescope might discourage some, or spur you on to greater. Remember: You don’t have to take a second job to afford astronomy. You can enjoy the sky FREE OF CHARGE – with eyes alone. Sooner or later, however, you’ll likely want a closer look!

8. Picking site Find a suitable location. Observe from an area that is safe, with a wide-open sky and shielded from neighboring lights. Do the best you can with what you have. Even from a city, you have good views of the moon and bright planets.

9. See it all Take it all in – look for meteors, the moon, planets, star clusters, galaxies and satellites, and more.

10. Patience Lastly, have a humble spirit, a patient heart and a good imagination. Rember, little in the sky will appear to happen quickly, and you will frequently be “clouded out.” Let yourself be inspired and filled with awe!


Moon Facts


There are many interesting facts about the moon and trivia that may or may not be important to you. Some interesting facts include:

  • We all know there was a man on the moon, but did you know that there is one who stayed there? Dr. Eugene Shoemaker, a Geological Surveyor, who educated the Apollo mission astronauts about craters, never made it into space himself, but it had always been one of his dreams. He was rejected as an astronaut because of medical problems. After he died, his ashes were placed on board the Lunar Prospector spacecraft on January 6, 1999, which was crashed into a crater on the moon on July 31, 1999. The mission was to discover if there was water on the moon at the time, but it also served to fulfill Dr Shoemaker’s last wish.
  • When Neil Armstrong took that first historical step and said “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” it would not have occurred to anyone that the step he took in the dust of the moon was there to stay. It will be there for millions of years because there is no wind on the moon. That is, assuming the downdraft from the Command Module upon takeoff back into space didn’t destroy the print. Buzz Aldrin reportedly saw the American flag, much further away, blow over during launch. Nevertheless, any footprints made by the famous astronauts undisturbed by takeoff are, in fact, there to stay.
  • When Alan Sheppard was on the moon, he hit a golf ball and drove it 2,400 feet, nearly one half a mile.0
  • In a survey conducted in 1988, 13% of those surveyed believed that the moon is made of cheese.
  • The multi layer space suits worn by the astronauts to the moon weighed 180 pounds on earth, but thirty pounds on the moon due to the lower gravity.
  • How close can you get without completely running out of gas? Apollo 11 had only 20 seconds of fuel left when they landed on the moon.
  • Apollo 15 was the first mission to use a lunar rover. The top speed that was ever recorded in this 4-wheeled land vehicle was 10.56 miles per hour.
  • It is possible to have a month without a full moon. This occurs in February, but either January or March will have two moons.
  • In China, the dark shadows that are on the moon are called “the toad in the moon”.
  • The Apollo missions brought back 2196 rock samples weighing 382 kg in total

Facts About the Moon

  • The moon is not a planet, but a satellite of the Earth.
  • The surface area of the moon is 14,658,000 square miles or 9.4 billion acres
  • Only 59% of the moon’s surface is visible from earth.
  • The moon rotates at 10 miles per hour compared to the earth’s rotation of 1000 miles per hour.
  • When a month has two full moons, the second full moon is called a blue moon. Another definition of a blue moon is the third full moon in any season (quarter of year) containing 4 total full moons.
  • From Earth, we always see the same side of the moon; the other side is always hidden.
  • The dark spots we see on the moon that create the image of the man in the moon are actually craters filled with basalt, which is a very dense material.
  • The moon is the only extraterrestrial body that has ever been visited by humans. It is also the only body that has had samples taken from it.
  • The first space craft to send back pictures from the moon was Luna 3 (built by the Soviet Union) in October 1959.
  • The moon has no global magnetic field.
  • The moon is about 1/4 the size of the Earth.




There are plenty of exciting sky watching events coming up in the coming year that should excite amateurs and professionals alike. We’ll be sure to remind you before the most noteworthy events, but mark your calendars so you can plan ahead and keep your eyes on the skies throughout 2014! Even if you don’t have a telescope, many of these can be seen with the naked eye or a good pair of binoculars.


2-3 – Quadrantids Meteor Shower peak – The shower will be visible from January first through the fifth, it peaks overnight on the 2nd and into the morning of the 3rd, with about 40 sightings per hour. These should be very easy to see, because the moon will not be present to wash the meteors out. The meteors will appear to be originating from the constellation Bootes.

5 – Jupiter at Opposition – This is the best day of the year to view Jupiter, as it makes it’s closest approach to Earth and will be fully reflecting light from the sun. There will also be plenty of light reflecting off of its four largest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. These will be visible on both sides of the planet.


20 – Asteroid takes out star – Okay, so the asteroid doesn’t really take out a star (because we all know who would win that fight), but it will pass in front of it and make it disappear from view. The asteroid 163 Erigone is 45 miles wide and will pass in front of Regulus, a star in the Leo constellation. For about 12 seconds, the asteroid’s shadow will completely obscure the star. This is a very rare occurrence and unfortunately very few will get the opportunity to see it. The center of the path will begin in New York City and it will move up into Ontario.


8 – Mars at Opposition – As Mars makes its closest approach of the year on this date, this is the best time to observe it. Details of the Martian surface will be visible with a telescope using magnification 80-100x. Binoculars will enhance the color, but a medium telescope (about 5-8 inches) is needed to see details. Higher powered telescopes may even be able to see the polar ice caps.

15 – Total Lunar Eclipse – The full moon will be completely caught in Earth’s shadow, known as its umbra. At the onset of the eclipse, the moon will gradually appear to become a rusty red color. Astronomers in North and South America will have the best view of the eclipse, which is expected to last nearly 80 minutes.

22-23 – Lyrids Meteor Shower Peak – The remnants of C/1861 G1 Thatcher appear to us in the form of the Lyrids meteor shower. Though they will be visible between the 16th and 25th, they peak overnight on the 22nd with up to 20 meteors per hour. Unfortunately, the light from the second quarter moon will wash out some of the meteors, but the brightest ones should be visible. These meteors have the potential to be very dusty with bright tails that seem to hang in the air.

28-29 – Ring of Fire Eclipse – This partial solar eclipse will produce a “ring of fire” effect as the moon blocks out much of the sun’s light. Unfortunately, the best view of this phenomenon will be over an uninhabited region of Antarctica.


5-6 – Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower Peak – This shower is composed of dusty remnants of the famed Halley’s Comet. The long-running shower is visible from April 19th until May 28, but peaks overnight on May 5th with up to 60 sightings per hour. The first quarter moon should set right around midnight local time, which will really improve conditions for spotting meteors. Though the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, it will appear that they are coming from the Aquarius constellation.

10 – Saturn at Opposition – Saturn will make its closest approach of the year and will be reflecting plenty of the sun’s light, making this the best opportunity to spot it. A medium telescope (about 5-8 inches) is needed to see the rings and some of the largest moons which will also be lit up from the sun.

24 – Meteor Shower – Before sunrise on the 24th, there could be a great number of meteors which are remnants of the comet P/209 LINEAR. The shower will be relatively short lived, but there is the potential for up to 100 sightings per hour.


7 – Mars and Moon Conjuncture – Just after sunset, Mars will be only a couple degrees away from our moon in the Western sky. This conjunction will be visible into the early morning hours.


28-29 – Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower Peak – This meteor shower is the remnants of two different comets. Though it runs from July 12 through August 23, it will peak overnight on July 28th with up to 20 sightings per hour. The meteors will appear to come from the Aquarius constellation.


10 – Supermoon – This will be the closest full moon of 2014, though it won’t appear much larger than any other full moon to the naked an untrained eye.

12-13 – Perseids Meteor Shower Peak – These meteors are leftovers from Swift-Tuttle comet and are a favorite among many skywatchers. The shower can be visible from July 17th through August 24th, and will peak overnight on August 12th at 60 sightings per hour. Unfortunately, the light from the moon will wash out many of the meteors, though the brightest should still be visible.

18 – Jupiter and Venus Conjuncture – Venus and Jupiter are the brightest planets in the sky and will be 0.25 degrees away from one another, which is less than the width of the moon. They will be best viewed before sunrise.

29 – Neptune at Opposition – The eighth planet will make its closest approach and will be reflecting plenty of sunlight on this day. Those with large, high powered telescopes may be able to see some details of this amazing planet, though it will appear only as a blue speck to everyone else.


7 – Uranus at Opposition – Uranus will make its closest approach and will be reflecting plenty of sunlight on this day. Those with large, high powered telescopes may be able to see some details of this amazing planet, though it will appear only as a teal speck to everyone else.

8 – Total Lunar Eclipse – The second total lunar eclipse of the year will last about one hour and will be most visible to those on the western side of North America, as well as the easternmost parts of Asia and Australia. Africa and Europe will not be able to view the rusty red umbra at all.

8-9 – Draconids Meteor Shower Peak – This shower spans from October 6-10, though it will peak overnight on the 8th with up to 10 meteors per hour. Though it is a small shower anyway, it will be especially tough to observe this year because of the light from full moon. However, if you are already out observing the lunar eclipse, it might be possible to see some of the brightest meteors. They will appear as if they are originating from the Draco constellation.

19 – Mars/Comet Near Miss – The recently-discovered Comet C/2013 A1, commonly known as Sliding Spring, will be making an exceedingly close approach with our planetary neighbor. NASA’s Near-Earth Object Office has estimated that it will be only 68,000 miles (110,000 kilometers) away from the red planet, which is roughly one-third of the distance from the Earth to the moon. There is currently a 1 in 8000 chance of it striking the surface, which means that our rovers and orbiters should be completely safe.

22-23 – Orionids Meteor Shower Peak – This shower is made up of remnants from the famed Halley’s Comet and spans from October 2 through November 7. It will peak overnight on the 22nd with up to 20 sightings per hour. Because it is the night before the New Moon, 2014 is an excellent year to view this shower. The meteors will appear to be originating from the Orion constellation.

23 – Partial Solar Eclipse – This partial solar eclipse will be visible throughout North America, as well as the easternmost parts of Russia.


5-6 – Taurids Meteor Shower Peak – Though the Taurids is a small shower, it has an extremely long span from September 7th through December 10th. It will peak overnight on the 5th with about 10 sightings per hour. Unfortunately, the light from the moon will wash out most of the meteors, but the brightest ones may still be visible. The meteors will appear to originate from the Taurus constellation.

17-18 – Leonids Meteor Shower Peak – The Leonids ranges from November 6th through the 30th, though it will peak overnight on the 17th with about 15 sightings per hour. The moon isn’t expected to wash out many of the meteors, so it should be fairly visible. In 2001, the Leonids produced hundreds of sightings per hour, but we aren’t expected to see that kind of show again until 2034. The shower will appear to originate from the constellation Leo.


13-14 – Geminids Meteor Shower Peak – The Geminids is a perennial favorite among skywatchers. It spans from December 7th through the 17th, but will peak overnight on the 13th with up to 120 sightings per hour. The meteors will appear multicolored, which gives an added bonus to the already spectacular show. Though the moon will wash out some of the meteors, they should be bright and plentiful enough to still be very visible. These meteors will appear to originate from the Gemini constellation.

24-25 – Ursids Meteor Shower Peak – The last meteor shower of the year will span from the 17th through the 25th, though it will peak overnight on the 22nd with about 10 sightings per hour. Because the shower’s peak coincides with the new moon, it should be a great time to view the meteors and close up a fantastic year of skywatching. These meteors will appear to originate from the Ursa Minor constellation

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