Key Astronomical Events in November 2023

by Hiroshi Tanaka
Leonid meteor shower

Noteworthy astronomical events for November 2023 encompass the zenith of the Leonid meteor shower, the presence of Saturn in the Aquarius constellation, and the morning sky presenting Venus and Jupiter at diametrically opposed points.

In the month of November 2023, the Leonids will reach their maximum, Saturn will be observed in the part of the sky known as “The Sea,” and Venus and Jupiter can be seen from opposite horizons.

What to Observe:
Meteors and Saturn in “The Sea”

To witness the Leonid meteor shower at its pinnacle, venture to a location with minimal light pollution on the night of November 17. Saturn will be visible throughout the month in Aquarius, which is among the water-associated constellations in that sky region. Early risers can catch a glimpse of Venus and Jupiter on opposing sides of the morning sky.

Significant Astronomical Observations in November:

  • On November 9, the waning crescent moon will appear just below Venus in the pre-dawn sky.
  • On November 17, the crescent moon will be visible in the southwestern sky during evening twilight.
  • On November 20, the first-quarter moon will be situated below Saturn in the southern sky after dusk, accompanied by the bright stars Fomalhaut and Altair.
  • On November 24, the waxing gibbous moon will be close to Jupiter in the eastern sky post-sunset, potentially within the same binocular view.
  • The peak of the Leonid meteor shower is on the night of November 17, with optimal viewing from midnight to dawn on the 18th.
  • The new moon is on November 13, and the full moon is on November 27.
  • Throughout the month, Jupiter is observable all night due to its opposition on November 3.
  • Venus will be seen rising a few hours before dawn throughout the month.
  • Saturn will be located in a sky section filled with water-themed constellations, including Aquarius, Pisces, and Capricornus.

Transcript for November Skywatching Video

For November’s skywatching, look for Venus and Jupiter on opposite sides of the pre-dawn sky, the return of the Leonid meteor shower, and Saturn amidst the starry “sea.”

In November, Jupiter is visible throughout the night, setting just before dawn, while Venus rises in the early morning. These planets were in close proximity in March but now appear on opposite sides of the sky.

On the morning of November 9, the crescent moon will be positioned slightly below Venus before sunrise. On November 17, a solitary crescent moon can be seen in the southwestern twilight. Due to an optical illusion, the moon near the horizon often appears larger and more dramatic.

On November 20, looking south after sunset, the first-quarter moon will align just under Saturn, close to stars Fomalhaut and Altair. By November 24, the nearly full moon will be near Jupiter in the eastern sky after dusk, suitable for binocular viewing.

Toward the end of November, Venus will rise with the bright star Spica, which is actually a binary star system, in close proximity.

The Leonid meteor shower, originating from comet Tempel-Tuttle, reaches its peak on the night of November 17, with the best visibility from midnight to dawn on the 18th. Leonids are known for their brightness and long-lasting streaks. For the best viewing experience, find a dark location, lie back, and look up, as meteors can appear in any part of the sky.

The first-quarter moon sets shortly after nightfall on the peak night of the Leonids, providing dark skies for meteor viewing. So, it’s an ideal time to enjoy the celestial show with some warm beverages and cozy attire.

Saturn is observable in the southern sky after dark in November, amidst constellations associated with water, which is why this area is sometimes referred to as “the Sea” or “the Water.”

Saturn resides within Aquarius, with nearby constellations such as Pisces, Capricornus, the Southern Fish, the Dolphin, the sea monster Cetus, and the river Eridanus. These constellations are not particularly luminous or easily distinguished but share a common theme related to water.

NASA’s upcoming Europa Clipper mission to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa highlights the connection between water and the possibility of life. This mission, set to launch the following fall, offers individuals a chance to send their names to Europa on the spacecraft, serving as a cosmic message from one potential ocean world to another.

Here are the lunar phases for November.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Leonid meteor shower

What is the peak date for the Leonid meteor shower in November 2023?

The peak for the Leonid meteor shower is on the night of November 17th, with the best viewing opportunities between midnight and dawn on November 18th.

Where can Saturn be found in the November 2023 sky?

Throughout November, Saturn can be observed in the constellation Aquarius, which is part of a sky region known as “The Sea” due to its water-themed constellations.

When will Venus and Jupiter be visible in November 2023?

Venus will be visible rising a few hours before dawn throughout November, and Jupiter will be visible all night long, setting just before sunrise.

What lunar phases will occur in November 2023?

November 2023 will feature a new moon on the 13th, the first quarter on the 20th, and a full moon on the 27th.

How can one view the Leonid meteor shower?

To view the Leonid meteor shower, find a dark location away from city lights, lie down, and look straight up into the night sky, allowing meteors to be seen in any part of the sky.

What other celestial events are notable in November 2023 besides the Leonid meteor shower?

Other notable events include the close proximity of the moon to Venus on November 9, the first-quarter moon near Saturn on November 20, and the nearly full moon close to Jupiter on November 24.

More about Leonid meteor shower

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Mike Johnson November 5, 2023 - 6:34 pm

so excited for the leonids this year heard they’re gonna be super bright, hope the weathers good

Jess Talks Stars November 5, 2023 - 6:43 pm

omg can’t wait to see Venus and Jupiter on opposite sides, last time they were like right next to each other, so cool

Tim the Skygazer November 6, 2023 - 12:43 am

just read the moon’s gonna be a new on Nov 13, perfect timing for dark skies during the Leonid peak!

AstroDude91 November 6, 2023 - 7:12 am

pretty sure Saturn’s not gonna be in Aquarius all month long, it moves right? or am I missing something here

Sarah_K November 6, 2023 - 7:46 am

anyone knows a good spot for skywatching away from the city lights? need to catch that meteor shower peak!


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