Weekly, I curate astronomical highlights of the Northern Hemisphere (mid-northern latitudes) for the upcoming week, but make sure to check my main feed For more comprehensive articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses, etc.
The evening sky this week: November 13-19, 2023
This week is likely the prime stargazing time of the month, with the night sky mostly unobstructed by the moon. An emerging moon can be seen shortly after sunset each evening starting from Wednesday, displaying its delicate crescent that grows each night. This is followed by the culmination of the Leonid meteor shower, which typically doesn’t produce much excitement, yet sporadically offers unforgettable displays.
Here’s all the information you require for stargazing this week:
Wednesday, November 15: An Infant Crescent Moon
Cast your gaze toward the southwest shortly after sunset and utilize binoculars to pinpoint a faint crescent moon with 7% illumination. Having emerged from the Sun’s brightness, it now appears to expand in size each day as it orbits Earth and moves farther away from the Sun.
Thursday, November 16: A waxing crescent moon and ‘Earth glow’
Observe the southwest sky after sunset tonight, where a slender lunar crescent with only 14% illumination will be visible. Tonight is the ideal time to search for “Earthshine,” sunlight reflected off our planet’s oceans and ice caps onto the moon. It is perceptible with the bare eye on the moon’s dark side, but binoculars offer a clearer view.
Friday, November 17: A waxing crescent moon and ‘Earth glow’
Last opportunity to witness the crescent moon, now 23% illuminated, exhibit “Earthshine”. Later tonight, the moon’s added radiance will dim the visibility of the delicate reflected light.
Friday/Saturday, November 17/18: Leonid meteor shower peak
A dependable, albeit infrequently abundant, meteor shower, the Leonids are known to yield approximately 15 “shooting stars” per hour. However, as many are remarkably bright with lengthy tails, they are certainly worth observing. This presents an excellent opportunity to marvel at the stars for a few hours.
Stargazing Pointer of the Week: Join an Astronomy Club
If you have been reading my materials for some time, you may have spent time stargazing and possibly felt like you had reached a plateau. Now is the moment to engage online or join your local astronomy club. Instead of exploring the night sky in isolation, you will gain knowledge from others and be motivated to pursue more discoveries. The universe is yours to explore as you wish, but it’s most rewarding to discover it in the company of others.
The times and dates provided are applicable to mid-northern latitudes. Refer to an online planetarium for the most precise location-specific details Stellarium And The Sky Live, check planet rising/planet setting, Sunrise Sunset And moonrise/moonset Time for your specific location.
Wish you clear skies and a sense of wonder.