November 2023: astronomical events this month you can't miss - from Jupiter in opposition to the Leonid meteor shower

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Keep an eye out for the largest Moon in our solar system in November's astonomical events

With the clocks going back an hour, it is the perfect time to spend part of an evening to stargaze. Sometimes, with poor weather, light pollution and busy schedules, it can be hard to know what to look for in the night sky, which is why you will need to know what is visible and what to keep an eye out for. 

So what are the main events in the night sky for November? Here is everything you need to know. 

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The night sky. Picture: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty ImagesThe night sky. Picture: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images
The night sky. Picture: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images

What is in the night sky this month? 

The month of November brings in some spectacular surprises which include Jupiter at opposition and a few meteor showers. This is what's on for this month: 

3 November: Jupiter at opposition. On this night, Earth will sit between the Sun and Jupiter, meaning the gas giant will be the closest it will get to Earth in 2023, sitting just 370 million miles away.

Since it will be close, there will be a spike in Jupiter's brightness and visibility as the Sun will light up the planet, making it visible in our sky almost like a full Moon. Any pictures of the gas giant will reveal some of its big Galilean moons – Ganymede, Callisto, Europa and Io.

For the best results to see Jupiter, a visual aid is required of at least 75mm, and the planet will sit at an altitude of 51° South. 

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9 November: Daylight lunar occultation of Venus. This hour-long event occurs when the Moon appears to pass in front of another object in the sky - such as a planet, star or asteroid. This time, the Moon will pass in front of Venus and will be visible in the morning for people in the UK just before dawn.


10 November: Ganymede and its shadow transit. Ganymede is the largest Moon in the solar system - bigger than Mercury and has its own magnetic field - making it a treat to see. As Jupiter is still in opposition, stargazers will be able to see this large moon and its shadow pass in front of Jupiter between 5:30pm and 7:45pm using a visual aid. 

13 November: Uranus reaches opposition. With the recent news, Uranus' auroras have been discovered, the icy planet can now be seen in the night sky as it reaches opposition, at around 5pm. 

17-18 November: Leonid meteor shower. Towards the end of the month, a relatively fast meteor shower will be on display, with around 10 meteor per hour at its peak. These will be visible to the naked eye, so no visual aid will be required. But if you miss the peak, the shower continues for a few days, just at a reduced rate.

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