Observing

See star λ Geminorum’s lunar hide and seek on 29 November

Early risers in the northeast of England and Scotland with clear skies can see naked-eye star lambda (λ) Geminorum, otherwise known as Alkibash, slip behind the southern polar regions of an 18-day-old waning gibbous Moon close to 5am GMT on Sunday, 29 November. However, for a select number of northern observers this will be a special grazing lunar occultation.

News

Enhanced Taurid meteor shower lights up November skies

The terrestrial fireworks of recent Bonfire Night(s) celebrations in the UK have masked a rather unusual display of natural illuminations, as we are in the midst of the Taurid meteor showers. However, this year’s display of celestial fireworks not only occurs near a new Moon for dark skies, but the double-peaked shower is currently showing signs of unusually high activity similar to the fireball-rich display of 2005.

Observing

See the Moon join the morning planets on 6-7 November

If you have a clear sky to the southeast an hour before sunrise on the morning of Friday, 6 November you will be greeted by a pairing of the old, waning crescent Moon with largest planet Jupiter. Then, on Saturday, 7 November, a slimmer crescent Moon joins planets Mars and Venus for an even closer triple conjunction. Have your binoculars and cameras ready!

Observing

See the Moon score a Bull’s-Eye in Taurus on 29 October

On Thursday, 29 October, observers in the British Isles with clear skies and armed with binoculars or small telescopes can see the waning gibbous 17-day-old Moon occult first-magnitude star Aldebaran, the ‘Eye of the Bull’ in the constellation Taurus. The star slips behind the Moon soon after 9:45pm GMT and reappears at the darkened lunar hemisphere about an hour later.

Observing

See the Orionid meteor shower peak 21-23 October

The highlight of October for meteor observers is the Orionid meteor shower, which occurs when the Earth encounters the debris stream of Halley’s Comet. With a broad maximum 21-23 October, peak rates are typically about a quarter of those seen for the Perseids of August. A good percentage of Orionids are bright and leave persistent trains.