Astronomy News for the Month of November 2021

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Due to hardware issues, links with the Allstar node, Echolink and the Cripple Creek repeater are down until further notice.
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 Excerpts from JPL mission updates are provided as a public service as part
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For special JPL programs and presentations in your area visit the JPL Solar System Ambassador website.
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In this Newsletter...

Background screen credits: NGC5775
Imaged March 21/22, 2001
using the 16" Kitt Peak Visitors Center telescope
as part of the Kitt Peak Advanced Observing Program.

"From left to right, Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter trail the Moon above the Basilica Sanctuary of Our Lady of Tears in Syracuse, Italy. This month, the same planets will similarly stretch along the ecliptic." Astronomy Magazine, November 2021, P. 32. Kevin Saragozza

The Month At-A-Glance
A calendar displaying the daily astronomical events.

The Moon



Moon/Planet Pairs

For reference: The Full Moon subtends an angle of ~0.5°.

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The Planets & Dwarf Planets

Planetary Reports generated by "TheSkyX" software. These reports provide predicted data for the planets for the first of each month for the current year. The rise and set times for the Sun and the Moon for each day of the month as well as meteor shower radiants are also included in the reports. These reports have been optimized for the Denver, Colorado location, however, the times will be approximate for other locations on Earth.

(All times are local unless otherwise noted.)

Planetary Highlights for November

"Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn dominate the evening sky with lots of planetary action in November. Highlights include Venus' quickly changing phase; Jupiter's atmosphere, Great Red Spot, and Galilean moon transits; and Saturn's stunning rings. Uranus reaches opposition and is on view all night, and for a bigger challenge, hunt down distant Neptune." Astronomy Magazine, November 2021, P. 32.


Is in superior conjunction on the 28th. Mercury rises at 6:05 a.m. on the 1st and around 7:13 a.m. by month's end. Look for Mercury to the east about 30 minutes before sunrise during the first two weeks of November. Mercury moves from the constellation of Virgo into Ophiuchus shining at magnitude -0.9 on the 1st.


Sets at 8:23 p.m. on the 1st and about 7:23 p.m. by month's end. Look for Venus in the west soon after sunset. Venus moves from the constellation of Ophiuchus into Sagittarius shining at magnitude -4.7 on the 15th.


Daylight Saving Time ends in the U.S. at 2 a.m. local time on the 7th.


Is still too close to the Sun to be visible for most of this month. Mars rises at 6:49 a.m. on the 1st and about 5:34 a.m. by month's end. Mars moves from the constellation of Virgo into Libra shining at magnitude 1.6.


Sets at 1:10 a.m. on the 1st and about 10:23 p.m. by month's end. Look for Jupiter in the southwest, soon after sunset. Jupiter is in the constellation of Capricornus shining at magnitude -2.4.


Sets at 11:49 p.m. on the 1st and about 9:00 p.m. by month's end. Look for Saturn in the southwest, soon after sunset. Saturn is in the constellation of Capricornus shining at magnitude 0.6.


Is at opposition, rising as the Sun sets, on the 4th. Uranus rises at 6:01 p.m. on the 1st and around 3:00 p.m. by month's end. Look for Uranus to the southeast after the skies darken to spot Uranus with binoculars or a small telescope. Uranus is in the constellation of Aries shining at magnitude 5.7.


Sets at 3:31 a.m. on the 1st and about 12:32 a.m. by month's end. By the time the Sun sets, Neptune is high enough in the south to be spotted once the skies are very dark. Neptune is in the constellation of Aquarius shining at magnitude 7.7.

Dwarf Planets


Is at opposition, rising as the Sun sets, on the 26th. Ceres rises at 7:52 p.m. on the 1st and about 4:26 p.m. by month's end. Look for Ceres in the late evening, when it is highest in the southern sky. Ceres is in the constellation of Taurus shining at magnitude 7.3.


Sets at 10:40 p.m. on the 1st and about 7:45 p.m. by month's end. Pluto is visible in the evening sky, to the southwest. Pluto is in the constellation of Sagittarius shining at magnitude 15.2.

As always, good luck at spotting Neptune, Ceres and Pluto, a large telescope and dark skies will be needed.

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Astronomical Events

Meteor Showers


  • The Leonids - The duration of this shower covers the period of Nov. 14-20. Maximum occurs on Nov. 17. The maximum hourly rate typically reaches 10-15, but most notable are periods of enhanced activity that occur every 33 years - events that are directly associated with the periodic return of comet Tempel-Tuttle. During these exceptional returns, the Leonids have produced rates of up to several thousand meteors per hour. The Leonids are swift meteors, which are best known for leaving a high percentage of persistent trains.

    Meteor Shower Radiant Report

    For more information about Meteor Showers, visit Gary Kronk's Meteor Showers Online web page.

    Meteor Scatter (or Meteor burst communications) - "is a radio propagation mode that exploits the ionized trails of meteors during atmospheric entry to establish brief communications paths between radio stations up to 2,250 kilometres (1,400 mi) apart." Tune your shortwave or your HF amateur radio to 54.310 MHz SSB and see if you can hear any pings. Try other frequencies as well... 6m FT8 digital - 50.313 Mhz & 50.276 Mhz, JP-65 digital mode and the carrier frequencies of the lower VHF bands for TV channels 2, 3 & 4.

    Meteor Rx How-To by Terry Bullett (WØASP)

  • Comets

    "NEXT MONTH'S Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) is set to thrill. To get the most out of it, first hone your skills on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

    Experienced observers see more detail than beginners because they've trained their brains to pick up subtle features. Similarly for imagers, whether you're new or just rusty, you'll make more mistakes without practice.

    Looping in from Jupiter's realm, Churyumov-Gerasimenko should glow between 8th and 9th magnitude. By midnight, it is more than 20° high in the east. Use the Crab Nebula (M1) as a brightness benchmark. Under country skies, a 4-inch scope will easily catch the Crab and the comet at low power. Both are a tough go from the city." Astronomy Magazine, November 2021, P. 38.

  • For information, orbital elements and ephemerides on observable comets, visit the Observable Comets page from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

    For more information about Comets, visit Gary Kronk's webpage.

  • Eclipses

    Solar Eclipses

  • No solar eclipse activity this month.

    Lunar Eclipses

  • a partial lunar eclipse occurs on the 19th.

  • Observational Opportunities

  • Look for Venus, Saturn and Jupiter in the early evening, just after sunset.
  • Look for Neptune and Uranus in the late evening and early morning.
  • Look for Mercury in the early morning before sunrise early in the month.

  • Asteroids

    (From west to east)

    IOTA Logo

  • Information on various occultations can be found by clicking the IOTA logo.
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    Subscriber Gallery

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    Member Meteor Sightings

    In this section I will post meteor, fireball, etc sightings that have been published on the American Meteor Society's web site. I want to make this an active section of the web pages and newsletter and would like to publish the links to member sightings. If you have any published sightings, please provide me with the links and I will post them here for all to enjoy.

    Event ID Date/Time Location Observer Link
    3871-2015 2015-11-13 01:55 MST CO Charles N 3871a
    3587-2015 2015-11-22 17:38 MST CO Kevin S 3587aw
    3829-2015 2015-12-05 18:06 MST CO Burness A 3829a
      986-2020 2020-02-21 22:20 MST CO Lukas S 986
    3716-2020 2020-07-24 23:22 MDT CO Lukas S 3716
    4774-2021 2021-08-13 21:57 MDT UT Lukas S 4774
    7044-2021 2021-10-28 20:37 MDT CO Burness A 249058

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    Planetary/Lunar Exploration Missions

    (Excerpts from recent JPL mission updates)

    JPL Latest News
    The Latest from Space

    JPL Latest News

    October 27, 2021
    Getting NASA Data to the Ground With Lasers

    Full Article & Images

    "Two optical ground stations, including one managed by JPL, will support NASA's Laser Communications Relay Demonstration mission when it launches this fall.

    NASA launches satellites, rovers, and orbiters to investigate humanity's place in the Milky Way. When these missions reach their destinations, their science instruments capture images, videos, and valuable insights about the cosmos. Communications infrastructure in space and on the ground enables the data collected by these missions to reach Earth. Without ground stations to receive it, the extraordinary data captured by these missions would be stuck in space, unable to reach scientists and researchers on Earth."

    Read the latest news and discoveries from JPL's dozens of active space missions exploring Earth, the solar system and worlds beyond.

    Past, Present, Future and Proposed JPL Missions.

    For special JPL programs and presentations in your area visit the JPL Solar System Ambassador web site.

    Juno - October 28, 2021
    NASA's Juno: Science Results Offer First 3D View of Jupiter Atmosphere

    Full Article & Images

    "New findings from NASA's Juno probe orbiting Jupiter provide a fuller picture of how the planet's distinctive and colorful atmospheric features offer clues about the unseen processes below its clouds. The results highlight the inner workings of the belts and zones of clouds encircling Jupiter, as well as its polar cyclones and even the Great Red Spot.

    Researchers published several papers on Juno's atmospheric discoveries today in the journal Science and the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. Additional papers appeared in two recent issues of Geophysical Research Letters."

    Images from NASA's JunoCam.

    More information on the Juno mission is available at: Juno and Mission Juno.

    The public can follow the Juno mission on Facebook and Twitter.

    New Horizons - July 14, 2021
    Great Exploration Revisited: New Horizons at Pluto and Charon

    Full Article & Images

    "Six years ago today, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft made history with the first up-close exploration of the Pluto system — providing breathtaking views and detailed data on Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, revealing the surfaces of these distant, mysterious worlds at the outer reaches of our solar system.

    These simulated flights over Pluto and Charon include some of the sharpest images and topographic data that New Horizons gathered during its historic flyby on July 14, 2015. These are the first "movies" of Pluto and Charon made from the highest-resolution black-and-white image strips, taken by New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), as the spacecraft zipped by at more than 30,000 miles per hour."

    New Horizons gallery

    Find New Horizons in the iTunes App Store.

    For more information on the New Horizons mission - the first mission to the ninth planet - visit the New Horizons home page.

    TESS - August 4, 2021
    NASA's TESS Tunes into an All-sky 'Symphony' of Red Giant Stars

    Full Article & Images

    "Using observations from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), astronomers have identified an unprecedented collection of pulsating red giant stars all across the sky. These stars, whose rhythms arise from internal sound waves, provide the opening chords of a symphonic exploration of our galactic neighborhood.

    TESS primarily hunts for worlds beyond our solar system, also known as exoplanets. But its sensitive measurements of stellar brightness make TESS ideal for studying stellar oscillations, an area of research called asteroseismology."

    For more information on the TESS mission, visit the Latest Tess Stories page.

    Past, Present, Future and Proposed JPL Missions

    Visit JPL's mission pages for current status.

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    Mars Missions

    Be A Martian

    Mars website mobile version is here!

    Mars Daily Weather Report

    Mars on the Go! NASA Be A Martian Mobile App
    If you want the latest news as it happens, try our Be A Martian app.
    Download on Mobile Devices
    Android | iPhone | Windows Phone

    JMARS is an acronym that stands for Java Mission-planning and Analysis for Remote Sensing. It is a geospatial information system (GIS) developed by ASU's Mars Space Flight Facility to provide mission planning and data-analysis tools to NASA's orbiters, instrument team members, students of all ages, and the general public.

    Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

    "The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) began in 1948, a decade before NASA. We are the world's only research institute to have sent instruments to all eight planets and Pluto.

    LASP combines all aspects of space exploration through our expertise in science, engineering, mission operations, and scientific data analysis. As part of CU, LASP also works to educate and train the next generation of space scientists, engineers and mission operators by integrating undergraduate and graduate students into working teams. Our students take their unique experiences with them into government or industry, or remain in academia to continue the cycle of exploration.

    LASP is an affiliate of CU-Boulder AeroSpace Ventures, a collaboration among aerospace-related departments, institutes, centers, government labs, and industry partners."

    LASP/MAVEN - October 18, 2021
    NASA selects UC Berkeley — Compton Spectrometer and Imager for next Explorers Program mission

    Full Article & Images

    "NASA announced today that the next mission in its Explorers Program will be a spacecraft that studies cosmic explosions and their elemental debris. The space agency selected the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI), to be built at the University of California Berkeley, in place of the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) concept. Known as ESCAPE: the Extreme-ultraviolet Stellar Characterization for Atmospheric Physics and Evolution mission, whose aim was to identify the types of star-planet systems with atmospheres that are thick enough to support life."

    Visit LASP and MAVEN for more information.

    Mars 2020 - Perseverance - October 26, 2021
    You Can Help Train NASA's Rovers to Better Explore Mars

    Full Article & Images

    "Members of the public can now help teach an artificial intelligence algorithm to recognize scientific features in images taken by NASA's Perseverance rover.

    Artificial intelligence, or AI, has enormous potential to change the way NASA's spacecraft study the universe. But because all machine learning algorithms require training from humans, a recent project asks members of the public to label features of scientific interest in imagery taken by NASA's Perseverance Mars rover."

    Learn more about the Mars 2020 (Perseverance) mission.

    Mars Science Laboratory - Curiosity - September 27, 2021
    MISSION UPDATES - Sols 3251-3253: Celebrating Another Go Around

    Full Article & Images

    "Solar conjunction is once again upon us - the time when the Sun comes between Mars and Earth in their orbital dances and precludes reliable communication between us and our robotic friends. This is the fifth conjunction Curiosity has experienced, and such a regular, cosmic event like conjunction provides the perfect time to reflect - where were we the last time Mars, Earth and the Sun aligned like this? Looking back over what we were up to around each conjunction is very much like looking through a scrapbook of memories.

    We headed into our first conjunction, starting on Sol 236 (April 2013), fresh off the excitement of finding evidence of a habitable environment in our first drill sample "John Klein," and still feeling the relief of having survived a major fault with the A side computer. Curiosity runs on the B side computer to this day."

    For information about NASA's partnership with Foursquare.

      Mars Rover Landing - Free for the Xbox 360 (requires Kinect)

      Visit the Mars Science Laboratory page.

    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission - September 15, 2021
    NASA Confirms Thousands of Massive, Ancient Volcanic Eruptions on Mars

    Full Article & Image

    "Scientists found evidence that a region of northern Mars called Arabia Terra experienced thousands of "super eruptions," the biggest volcanic eruptions known, over a 500-million-year period.

    Some volcanoes can produce eruptions so powerful they release oceans of dust and toxic gases into the air, blocking out sunlight and changing a planet's climate for decades. By studying the topography and mineral composition of a portion of the Arabia Terra region in northern Mars, scientists recently found evidence for thousands of such eruptions, or "super eruptions," which are the most violent volcanic explosions known.

    Spewing water vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide into the air, these explosions tore through the Martian surface over a 500-million-year period about 4 billion years ago. Scientists reported this estimate in a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in July 2021."

    All of the HiRISE images are archived here.

    More information about the MRO mission is available online.

    Mars Odyssey Orbiter - April 7, 2021
    NASA's Odyssey Orbiter Marks 20 Historic Years of Mapping Mars

    Full Article and Images

    "NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft launched 20 years ago on April 7, making it the oldest spacecraft still working at the Red Planet. The orbiter, which takes its name from Arthur C. Clarke's classic sci-fi novel "2001: A Space Odyssey" (Clarke blessed its use before launch), was sent to map the composition of the Martian surface, providing a window to the past so scientists could piece together how the planet evolved."

    Daily Mars Odyssey THEMIS Images
    Can be found at the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) website.

    The Odyssey data are available through a new online access system established by the Planetary Data System.

    Visit the Mars Odyssey Mission page.

    Journey to Mars - InSight - Revealing the Heart of Mars - September 22, 2021
    NASA's InSight Finds Three Big Marsquakes, Thanks to Solar-Panel Dusting

    Full Article and Images

    "The lander cleared enough dust from one solar panel to keep its seismometer on through the summer, allowing scientists to study the three biggest quakes they've seen on Mars.

    On Sept. 18, NASA's InSight lander celebrated its 1,000th Martian day, or sol, by measuring one of the biggest, longest-lasting marsquakes the mission has ever detected. The temblor is estimated to be about a magnitude 4.2 and shook for nearly an hour-and-a-half.

    This is the third major quake InSight has detected in a month: On Aug. 25, the mission's seismometer detected two quakes of magnitudes 4.2 and 4.1. For comparison, a magnitude 4.2 quake has five times the energy of the mission's previous record holder, a magnitude 3.7 quake detected in 2019."

    Interactive selection of raw images taken by the cameras aboard InSight.

    Learn more about the InSight Mission.

    Mars Missions Status

    New Mars missions are being planned to include several new rover and sample collection missions. Check out the Mars Missions web page and the Mars Exploration page.

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    Astronomy Links and Other Space News

    (If you have a link you would like to recommend to our readers, please feel free to submit it.)

    Green Laser

    Colorado Astronomy Links

    Radio Astronomy Links

    Other Astronomy Links

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    Astronomical Lexicon

    Definitions of astronomical terms. Many of the astronomical terms used in this newsletter are defined here.

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    UT Logo

    Read the Universe Today Newsletter by clicking on the logo.

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    Acknowledgments and References

    Much of the information in this newsletter is from Astronomy® Magazine (Kalmbach Publishing), JPL mission status reports, the Internet, "Meteor Showers - A descriptive Catalog" by Gary W. Kronk, Sky & Telescope web pages, and other astronomical sources that I have stashed on my bookshelves.

    The author will accept any suggestions, constructive criticisms, and corrections. Please feel free to send me any new links or articles to share as well. I will try to accommodate any reasonable requests. Please feel free to send questions, comments, criticisms, or donations to the email address listed below. Enjoy!

    More Acknowledgements and References

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