What's in the night sky of the week of 7 to 13 November 2022.


Chris Bramley Hello and welcome to Star Diary, the podcast for the makers of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. You can subscribe to the print edition, visiting skyatnightmagazine.com or to our digital edition by visiting iTunes or Google Play.

Ezzy Pearson Greetings listeners and welcome to Star Diary, a weekly guide to the best things to see in the northern hemisphere's night sky. But as we're based here in the UK, all the times that we'll be giving are in GMT and this episode, we'll be covering the coming week from 7th to 13th of November. I'm Ezzy Pearson, the magazine's features editor, and I'm joined on the podcast today by reviews editor Paul Money. Hello, Paul.

Paul Money Hello there Ezzy. Looking forward to some more events?

Ezzy Absolutely. So Paul, what are your recommendations for this week?

Paul Well, we had quite a good session with the evening sky last week, so let's start the week with the morning sky. You know, that really, really strange time when everybody should be asleep. Curled up in bed, especially these colder nights. But, well, if we're astronomers we'll get out at any time of the night. Well, that's the theory anyway. Unless you turn off your alarm and go back to sleep, which is what I sometimes do, unfortunately. However, on 7th we're looking about 3:00 in the morning, I think this is well worth going on for now, to be fair. You could have started the next morning. So it's one of those things that, you know, it depends on where you wanted to do this. But we look at Ceres. Now this is the dwarf planet, Ceres, magnitude 8.8. So it's not bright. But the reason why I picked out is that it's actually passing through the Leo Triplet of galaxies. This is why it's in the morning sky. Leo is in the morning sky at the moment sort of thing. So you have to be up about 3:00 o'clock is probably the best time. Leo is well up by then. So he's not low down in the murk. It's well up. So have a look because you'll find it below the galaxy NGC 3628. Now that's the fainter member I always think it's slightly larger on photographs. And so a light is parallel to the motion of Ceres as well. And then you've got like if you look with binoculars, which is very difficult, you can't see them easily with binoculars, but the orientation is sort like the galaxy is sort like trending from upper right to lower left. And then the other two galaxies that form the triple are M65 and M66. Now, all these galaxies are not exactly bright. I mean, M65 is mag 9.6 and M66 is 9.7 and that other galaxy. Well that's 10.41 but when you got a mag 8.8 dwarf planet passing through them, this is the time to capture it. And hopefully you can do it visually and also do it photographically and get a sequence showing it moving through the actual field as long as the sky is clear. Now, we've estimated that in actual fact Ceres is closest to the galaxy core of NGC 3628, around about 3 a.m. on the 7th, which is why I chose this particular time. And then the next morning it lies to its east south. So it is a good project really for astrophotographers and it's fascinating for us night after night, or should I say morning after morning to actually follow the motion of this world as it passes through this triplet, because it's not often you get these interesting objects involving deep sky targets as well. Often they look like a dot. Ceres will just look like a dot. But then you've got these galaxies and you'll see this one dot moving past these galaxies, which I find actually fascinating. So that's Ceres, as I say it's not often we've mentioned Ceres recently because it has faded, but this is one of those chances. This is the time to do it. So November 8th, while we get around to the full Moon, full Moon occurs on 8th and on that evening we find it actually fairly close to Uranus is several degrees to the left of Uranus itself. And we were looking about, well, say 7 p.m. in the evening sky and our full Moon is technically at opposition. It is opposite the Sun in the sky as well. We get it full. So with Uranus being so close it does follow and I'm not sure about Uranus should be close to opposition as well. And indeed it is. It is the opposition the next day. So there are literally probably less than 24 hours apart from being opposition together. So I find that fascinating. It's not often you get this situation where the Moon is really close to the planet and they share the same opposition date near enough. So 8th and 9th there, for the Moon at full and then Uranus opposition. And Uranus is technically naked eye – he says, laughing. Yes, it depends on your eyesight, also depends on your clarity of the sky. You know, the so many things that can affect this. But if you've got dark skies, it's worth and you've got keen eyes. Worth having a look. Justina But you need good charts. Checking the magazine for the charts. I think you should be able to pick it out if you've got good, keen eyesight and you're very sensitive at night. So when I was younger, oh, many, many moons ago, I could see with the naked eye, I'd say now with glasses of can't, which is a shame but it doesn't take much binoculars, even low magnification binoculars will actually bring out Uranus extreme though. It is magnitude 5.6. So I say it's well worth seeing. Like Neptune, it is small in the disk and there are subtle shadings. Some people have reported and astrophotographers reported. But the other thing with Uranus as well is that now it's rising in as the Sun sets and Saturn as the sun rises, is visible all night. So if you want to have prolonged observation of it and have got clear eyes and follow it from sort of rising through to setting, then have a seek out for the Moons. It's got five moons that are visible now. It depends on the size of the telescope, but you should be able to pick out Oberon and Titania and Ariel reasonably easily. I would say an 8-inch telescope at least. But Umbriel and Miranda are the harder ones Umbriel because it is fainter and Miranda because it's fainter but it's very close to the disk as well, but well-worth having a go out. So I think it took me a while before I eventually got them. I remember I had a little chat... Well I sent a... well I did what everybody else did. I wrote to Patrick, I wrote to him and asked him had he seen the moons of Miranda, the five, and he talked a classic. I've got the postcard back and it came back. "Yes, indeed I have with my 15-inch telescope. I've seen all them, including Miranda." At that stage I had my 14-inch telescope and I couldn't get Miranda. Umbriel was even hard, but I couldn't get Miranda at all. But I'm glad to say I now can get Miranda. So it's one of those things. But well worth having a look at if you got a large telescope to have a go at tracking these down and photographing them as well. So that's Uranus on 9th at opposition. So it's visible all night. Now the Moon was close by, as I said, on 8th, and it will be moving on and on 9th. It lies between the Pleiades and Aldebaran. And Aldebaran, of course, appears to be part of the Hyades star cluster. We know the separate. We know the Aldebaran is half the distance of the actual cluster itself. So it's nothing like the distance but the moon on the night lies between them. So I think I love that when there is conjunctions, sort of thing, with deep sky objects like that. So that's the evening of the 9th. And so if you look carefully, you will notice two stars close to it. Now, for scientific reasons, these sort of events close to full Moon are hardly ever picked upon because it is very difficult to get the data. But visually, there's no reason why you shouldn't try to get them. The two stars are 37 and 39 Tauri and the Moon will occult them. They're also known by the way as A1 and A2 Tauri. But I prefer to go with the numerals myself, 37 and 39. So the thing about this is that have a look at them start looking from 7:30pm. The easiest thing to do is find the Moon, cause the Moon will be getting close. And if you see two stars to the left at a slight angle, bingo, you've got the two stars. So watch as the moon covers them. It will be on the bright edge of the disk. I mean, this is nearly full moon. Of course, he just two days from fall. But the reappearance does occur in the dark limits. A very slim dark limb really, but well worth having a go. You never know if you see it, you're watching the motion of the moon, aren't you Ezzy.

Ezzy And will that be visible with the naked eye?

Paul No. In the night the Moon will be naked eye. I said that, sir, but the stars no. Binoculars, whether the moonlight will wash them out. I'm not sure because I have actually forgotten the magnitude of these. I think they are around about 5 or 6 magnitude so technically they're naked eye. But the thing is if you use a telescope you should be be able to pick those two stars out. 37 is slightly brighter than 39 and it's the more northern of the actual pair of stars. So, you know, just for fun, just have a go see if you can see them. I say, getting the details for scientific research, they prefer it when the Moon, in actual fact, is not at such a full phase. It's a lot harder to see them at full phase. But I always like to have a go. You never know what you might be able to spot. So the next day evening, so therefore 10th, the Moon then is to the upper right of Mars. Now Mars is steadily creeping closer to opposition. It will be next month. So he's getting brighter and bigger and a telescope as well. So the moon gives you a good guide on 10th to being the upper right of Mars. Then on the 11th it lies to the left of the Red Planet. So about 9:00 for these – allow them time to get a bit higher in the actual sky. So it's a lot easier to actually view. But I say we're getting excited because Mars is heading back towards opposition. We waited nearly two years for this. So astrophotographers like Damian Peach, etc. are getting some great pictures already. I'm I'm not envious at all. Me, me. I'm not envious at all. No, no. Well, they're absolute... They are the experts out there and getting these pictures. Absolutely stunning. And to finish the week off the moon then carries on from Taurus, because remember, Mars is in Taurus and it moves into Gemini. And on the late evening of 13th in forms I like these triangles. It forms a triangle. Castor and Pollux, the twins that make up Gemini. But if you look so to the lower right of the moon sort of thing from Pollux, you can actually also see Kappa Geminorum. And the Moon almost lies on a line between the two stars themselves. And that's around about 10:00 ish on that particular evening of 13th. Just to end the week's events off.

Ezzy As you said, there are lots of things going on there. On 7th November, you've got Ceres passing through a triplet of galaxies in Leo at about 3:00 in the morning, and then throughout the rest of the week you have the Moon travelling by a whole range of interesting targets. You've got Uranus on 8th, the Pleiades and Aldebaran on 9th November. From 10th to 11th it'll be near Mars. And finally on 13th, it will be near Castor and Pollux in Gemini. So a great week for watching the Moon as it travels across the night sky. So thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us about those, Paul.

Paul It's a pleasure.

Ezzy If you want to keep up to date with the best things to see in the night sky every week, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and we hope to see you here next week. If you want to find out even more spectacular sites that will be gracing the night sky throughout the month, be sure to pick up a copy of BBC Sky at Night Magazine where we have a 16 page pull out Sky Guide with a full overview of everything worth looking up for. Whether you like to look at the moon, the planets, or the deep sky, whether you use binoculars, telescopes or neither, our sky guide has got you covered with the detailed star charts to help you track your way across the night sky. From all of us here at BBC Sky and Night Magazine. Goodbye.


Chris Thank you for listening to this episode of the Star Diary podcast from the makers of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. For more of a podcast, visit our website at skyatnightmagazine.com or head to ACast, iTunes or Spotify.


Elizabeth Pearson
Ezzy PearsonScience journalist

Ezzy Pearson is the Features Editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Her first book about the history of robotic planetary landers is out now from The History Press.