Seeing Stars with James Wooten: November 2012

November 2, 2012

Mars remains an evening object. It is low in the southwest at dusk.

Jupiter, still high in the west in the morning sky, is also becoming a late evening object. It is not up right at dusk just yet, but it already rises by 8:30 p.m. (and thus before 7:30 next week after DST ends). By the end of the month, it rises by 5:27 p.m., only moments after sundown. Opposition, when Earth is directly between Jupiter and the Sun and Jupiter is up literally all night long, is Dec. 3.

Seeing Stars with James Wooten: November 2012

Venus remains in the east at dawn, continuing a spectacular morning apparition.

Saturn slowly emerges into the morning sky this month.  After the 15th, try looking for it in the east-southeast under brilliant Venus. Venus and Saturn are very close on the mornings of Nov. 26 and 27.

The Summer Triangle now shifts towards the west as the Great Square of Pegasus appears higher, approaching the zenith. When facing the Great Square or especially south and east of that, we face out of the plane of our galaxy, a direction where there are fewer bright stars. That’s why the large expanse of sky rising under Pegasus seems devoid of bright stars. For this reason, ancient Babylonians designated this broad area of sky as the ‘Celestial Sea’, and filled it watery constellations. The only bright star in this whole expanse of our sky is Fomalhaut in the southeast, which marks the mouth of the Southern Fish.  Between the ‘teapot’ of Sagittarius and Jupiter (in Taurus, the Bull), are dim zodiacal constellations including Capricornus, the Sea Goat; Aquarius, the Water Carrier; and Pisces, the Fish. The giant sea monster Cetus rises under Pisces.

Moon Phases in November 2012:
Last Quarter                  November 6, 6:36 pm
New                               November 13, 4:07 pm
1st Quarter                    November 20, 8:32 am
Full                                 November 28, 8:46 am

The New Moon of Nov. 13 actually passes exactly between the Earth and Sun, and thus casts its shadow on the Earth. This causes a total eclipse of the Sun. The path of totality passes nowhere near North America, however.  Rather, it begins in northern Australia and extends out over the Pacific.

That same New Moon also marks the Muslim New Year. Since Muslims begin their months with the first moon they actually see, their new year will actually begin a few days later, when the slender crescent becomes visible at dusk.

Sunday, Nov. 4 is the first Sunday of November. Accordingly, Daylight Saving Time ends on this date at 2:00 a.m.  (Officially, the time goes from 1:59 a.m. back to 1, such that the 1 a.m. hour happens twice.)  Don’t forget to set all clocks back one hour on Saturday night, Nov. 3, and enjoy your extra hour of sleep!

On most clear Saturday nights at the George Observatory, you can hear me do live star tours on the observation deck with a green laser pointer. If you’re there, listen for my announcement.

To enjoy the stars in any weather from the comfort of the HMNS Planetarium, click here for a full schedule.

Would you like email updates on current events in the sky, at the planetarium, and at the George Observatory?  If so, send an email to

Authored By James Wooten

James is the Planetarium Astronomer at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. He teaches students every school morning in the planetarium, and also answers astronomy questions from the public.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become An HMNS Member

With a membership level for everyone; Don't just read about it, see it.

View All Membership Levels

Editor's Picks Wait Just A Minute! Let’s Take A Second To Talk About the Origin Of Time Keeping. The Krak Des Chevaliers: A Tough Nut To Krak Polar Dinosaurs Are Real And They Are More Adorable Than Elves Gosh that Corpse Looks Delicious: The Disturbing World of the Medieval Apothecary Hurricane Harvey Update How long could YOU Survive in the CBC??
Follow And Subscribe

Equally Interesting Posts

HMNS at Hermann Park

5555 Hermann Park Dr.
Houston,Texas 77030
(713) 639-4629

Get Directions Offering varies by location
HMNS at Sugar Land

13016 University Blvd.
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
(281) 313-2277

Get Directions Offering varies by location
George Observatory

21901 FM 762 Rd.
Needville, Texas 77461
(281) 242-3055

Tuesday - Saturday By Reservation
Saturdays 3:00PM - 10:00PM
Saturdays (DST) 3:00PM - 11:00PM
DST = Daylight Savings Time.
Please call for holiday hours. Entry to Brazos Bend State Park ends at 9:30 p.m. daily
Get Directions Offering varies by location

Stay in the know. Join our mailing list.