Jove takes the honours
Jupiter rises majestically, above the east-northeast horizon, early in the evening. Although surrounded by several bright stars, the giant planet still manages to dominate the sky with its brilliance. Jupiter remains in Taurus throughout the month, and on two separate occasions, the evenings of November 1 & 28, the gibbous Moon approaches the planet. Seen from certain parts of the Earth, the Moon will actually occult Jupiter. Note that Jupiter is currently moving westward among the stars — a fact that can be observed by gauging the angular distance between the planet and the nearby star, Aldebaran. As the evenings pass, Jupiter slowly approaches Aldebaran from the left.
If you have the means, you should make an effort to observe Jupiter with a small telescope or pair of binoculars. Its four Galilean moons readily appear as star-like points of light, orbiting around the planet. Their movement is fascinating to follow: Try to identify each one, by measuring their orbital periods, just like Galileo did four centuries ago. With a larger telescope, you can observe the cloud bands in the planet's upper atmosphere: As the weeks go by, their ever-changing activity is often noticeable, and sometimes even tinted.
A dazzling duo
A close encounter between Venus and Saturn is, for early risers, the astronomical event of the month. Brilliant Venus rises above the southeast horizon a few hours before the Sun. On the morning of November 11, about an hour before daybreak, look for a thin crescent Moon next to the gleaming planet — a spectacular sight against the colours of dawn!
From November 25 to 28, Venus and Saturn will form a tight duo in the dawn sky, creating yet another glittering scene. But don't wait! Set your agendas and alarm clocks for 6:00 A.M., then look toward the southeast horizon: Venus and Saturn will provide a dazzling start to your day.
There are two eclipses this month. On November 13, the first total solar eclipse in over two years will occur in the South Pacific: It won't be visible from our latitudes and, in fact, few landmasses will be in the path of totality. The northern tip of Australia is probably the only notable place from which to see the event, and from there the eclipse will be occur at sunrise.
A lunar eclipse follows on November 28, but the Moon will only cross Earth's penumbra, so the darkening effect will be minor. For those in southern and eastern Quebec, the eclipse won't be visible. From the rest of Canada and most of the U.S. the eclipse will get underway at moonset.
In closing, the Moon's absence from the sky will favour observation of the Leonid meteor shower, which is forecast to reach a maximum on the night of November 16 to 17. Though not a major shower, it occurs on a weekend this year, which might increase your chances of seeing a few Meteors at least.