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Weekly Stargazing Tips
6 years ago

Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii). Check out last week's tips if you missed a night.

November 10

The crescent Moon will be in the eastern sky at first light tomorrow. Venus, the “morning star,” is close to the upper left of the Moon, while Spica, the brightest star of Virgo, is a little farther to the lower left of the Moon.

November 11

The planet Saturn is quite low in the east about 45 minutes before sunrise tomorrow. It looks like a moderately bright star, close to the left of the crescent Moon. Brilliant Venus, the “morning star,” stands well above them.

November 12

A total solar eclipse takes place tomorrow, as the new Moon passes directly between Earth and Sun. Unfortunately for North American skywatchers, it is visible only from Australia and a narrow strip of the Pacific Ocean.

November 13

The Moon is new today, as it crosses between Earth and Sun and is lost in the Sun’s glare. Tomorrow, the Moon will be closest to Earth for its current orbit. The combination of new Moon and close approach will create especially high and low tides.

November 14

Mars is passing in front of the center of the Milky Way galaxy this week. The planet looks like a modest orange star in the southwest in early evening, above the “spout” of teapot-shaped Sagittarius. The galaxy’s center is about 27,000 light-years beyond Mars.

November 15

The planet Mars has parked itself in the evening sky. It is quite low in the southwest as night falls, and sets a couple of hours after sunset. Tonight, it’s to the upper left of the crescent Moon. It looks like a modestly bright orange star.

November 16

The Leonid meteor shower should be at its best tonight, producing perhaps a dozen or so “shooting stars” per hour. The best view comes in the wee hours of the morning, as your part of Earth turns most directly into the meteor stream.

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