As the new month begins, the sky is set to light up with a beautiful planetary display of planets Jupiter, Mars and Venus shining brightly in the morning sky, along with the constellations Leo and Virgo showing up too. The show will be accompanied by the spectacular display of the Leonid meteor showers.
Meteor showers show up when dust or particles from asteroids or comets enter Earth’s atmosphere at very high speed. When they hit the atmosphere, the meteors rub against air particles and create friction, heating them up. The heat vaporizes most meteors, creating what we call shooting stars. Planetary enthusiasts will be able to witness Leonid meteor shower after few days in November itself.
The brightly lit constellation Leo usually shows up at about 1 a.m., and the large planet Jupiter moves eastwards at around 2:15 a.m. This makes it appear close to the legs of the lion in constellation Leo. Jupiter will be seen at -1.8 magnitude making it look bright and then become brighter at -1.9 magnitude during mid-November.
Another bright planet in the night sky, Venus would close up to Mars in November after it was closer to Jupiter during October end. Just before daybreak, the red planet, Mars will show up too and will be easily visible along with Venus.
According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, after this both Venus and Mars will conjunct on Nov. 3. Venus and Mars rise in the sky around 2:45 a.m. because they are less than a degree away from each other.You will see Mars at 1.7 magnitude making it look dimmer especially in large cities. However, Venus will be located at -4.5 magnitude looking very bright in the sky.
Post sunset, you will be able to spot Saturn at 0 magnitude and looking bright. It will set again around 6:30 p.m. Mid-November will see Saturn move lower in the western horizon at around 5:40 p.m.. The ringed planet, Saturn will vanish at the end of November in the brightness of the sun and not be visible.
The Leonid meteors lead to a violent shower off and on, however, the International Meteor Organization predicts that the high point of the Leonid meteor on Nov. 17-18 will only be average this year. The Leonid meteor shower will have around 20 shooting stars every hour. You will be able to see this spectacle if you gaze at the night sky post midnight on Nov.18 and may even see some shooting stars.