Weekly Stargazing Calendar for 2010-11-15

This week the Leonids meteor shower will have it’s peak on November 17 and 18. The Leonids is one of the best meteor shower to watch because it produces an average of 40 meteors per hour during the peak. Look for the shower radiating from the Leo constellation. Below is a sky map of that constellation:

Leo constellation map

To help you in locating the constellations when stargazing, I am working on a Constellations Guide. It will gradually grow to include all 88 modern constellations.

And here are the positions of the planets this week:

Mercury: This planet is very close to the Sun and can only be seen at dawn and dusk, which means that it’s position changes quickly.

Venus: The sister planet will move quite fast in the sky, but for most of this week it can be seen at dawn and dusk in the Virgo constellation near Saturn and the bright star Spica. But no star can outshine Venus. It is the brightest celestial body after the Moon in the night sky.

Mars: The red planet hasn’t moved far from last week’s position. It still can be seen between the constellations of Scorpius and Ophiuchus, right next to the bright star Antares.

Jupiter and Uranus: The two gas giants are even slower than Mars. They are still in roughly the same spot between the constellations of Aquarius, Pisces and Cetus. Jupiter can easily be spotted with the naked eye, even in highly illuminated cities. However for Uranus you will need a telescope.

Saturn: The ringed giant can be seen with the naked eye in the middle of the Virgo constellation. It will outshine even the brightest star of the constellation called Spica.

Neptune: The blue giant requires a telescope pointed between the constellations of Aquarius and Capricornus in order to be seen.

As you know, the Moon has a big impact on the visibility of celestial bodies in the night sky. So here are the Moon’s phases for this week:

Nov. 15

Nov. 16

Nov. 17

Nov. 18

Nov. 19

Nov. 20

Nov. 21