Podcaster: Rob Webb

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Title: Observing With Webb in November 2020

Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School

Link: ; ;
follow me : @MrWebbPV on Twitter and Instagram

This podcast is found on: Podbean page, Stitcher, and iTunes.  There’s also a video version on YouTube Channel.

The Pequea Valley Planetarium and its events and updates are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @pvplanetarium.

Description: Mars Month! October is pretty awesome this year. Two Full Moons, one on Halloween, four brilliantly positioned planets, the Orionid Meteor Shower, and the opposition of Mars are making October of 2020 a rich month for getting out there and investigating the night sky

Bio: Rob Webb is a physics, astronomy, and sustainability teacher at Pequea Valley High School in Pennsylvania. His passions include teaching, astronomy, astrophotography, planetariums, running, reading, and golf. A proud graduate of Dickinson College in 2005, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Penn State University after conducting research in regards to the current state of planetariums in Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact him at

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November this year is quite the month of change. We have an election, daylight savings time ends, and the nights quickly get longer and longer. All five naked-eye planets are easily visible at different parts of the night, the Leonids will grace the mid-month skies, and the Moon makes its monthly visits in line with the planets.

Welcome to Observing With Webb, where a high school astronomy teacher tells you what you’re looking at, why it’s so cool, and what you should check out later this month…at night.

Naked-eye PLANETS…

Sunset – Saturn, Jupiter

· Saturn, Jupiter (S) – Just look South or Southwest after sunset, but before 10:30pm (8:30pm at the end of the month) and find the two really bright points of light fairly close together. In fact, they start off 5˚ apart (three finger-widths) and end up on November 30th being just 2˚ apart (two pinky-widths). To find Jupiter, just look for the brightest spot no more than 30˚ above the horizon. Saturn will be to the left. These make a great pair for getting your binoculars and telescopes out. You can see the rings of Saturn and moons of Jupiter fairly easily, and you don’t have to do too much to switch from one planet to the other. In fact, get your practice in now, because on December 21st, these two planets will have a brilliant conjunction!

Throughout the night – Mars

· Mars (ESEàSàW) – Look East or South East around sunset or South around 10:30pm to find the non-twinkling reddish-orange dot, much brighter than everything around it. If you’re looking in the morning, look West, but make sure you get out there before it sets at 5am at the beginning of the month and 3am at the end of the month.

Morning – Venus, Mercury

· Venus (E) – Venus rises in the East around at 4:30am on Nov 1st, and 5:45am on the 30th. Bright, brilliant, and gorgeous. Get your looks in now, since it dives closer and closer to the Sun through December, and stays close to the Sun until Summer of 2021.

· Mercury (E) – Always tough to see since it’s close to the Sun, but this is a good month to find it, especially right in the middle of November when it’s furthest from the Sun. Get out to look after 6:45am but before sunrise about an hour later and look ESE. It will be low on the horizon, down and to the left of Venus, and dimmer than Venus but brighter than surrounding stars. The last week of November it dives back toward the Sun and is lower and harder to find.


Waning Gibbous (Mostly lit, rises later at night)

Last Quarter Moon – 8th (Visible from midnight into the morning)

Morning Crescents (look East in the AM)

New Moon – 15th (darkest skies)

Evening Crescents (look West after Sunset)

First Quarter Moon – 22nd (Visible until midnight)

Evening Gibbous (Mostly lit, after Sunset)

Full Moon – 30th (Visible all night)

11th – 13th – Close Encounter – Moon, Venus, Mercury – Make sure you have a nice view of the Eastern horizon at least 45 minutes before sunrise (6:45am). Venus and the Moon should be easy to spot, with Venus being VERY bright, and the Moon being its big beautiful crescent. On the 11th, the Moon will be about two fist-widths above Venus, with Mercury below Venus. On the 12th, the Moon will move to within 6˚ or about three finger-widths above Venus. THE BEST PART is on the morning of Friday the 13th! The Moon will be BETWEEN Venus and Mercury!

17th – Leonid Meteor Shower – This annual, weak (10-15 per hour), meteor shower can have some wonderful years. 2020 appears to be decent. Why? We essentially have a New Moon, so there’s no extra light pollution to interfere with our observing. This year, you want to get up early in the morning on Thursday the 17th, between 3:00 and 5:30am, and take a nice look at the sky in general, noting that the meteors will appear to go from the radiant in the head of Leo and outward.

18th – 19th – Close Encounter – Moon, Jupiter, Saturn – Get out after sunset and find the Moon toward the Southwest, low on the horizon, and a thin waxing crescent. On the 18th, the Moon will be down and to the right of Jupiter, the brightest point nearby, with Saturn to the left of Jupiter and also bright. Then, on the 19th, the Moon moves to the left of Saturn, forming a very flat triangle with Jupiter and Saturn. Definitely an easy and worthwhile sight, but get out there before 8pm when they set.

25th – Close Encounter – Moon, Mars – Get out there after sunset and find the waxing Gibbous Moon in the SE with red, ruddy Mars close and bright just 5˚ above it.

CONSTELLATIONS… Use a sky map from to help you out.

After Dinner:

Pegasus & Andromeda – Look pretty much straight up you’ll be able to see the Great Square of Pegasus, with Andromeda curving off of one corner. If your skies are decently dark, you might catch the faint fuzz that is the Andromeda Galaxy.

Before Bed:

Andromeda, Perseus, Triangulum, Aries – Find Pegasus off to the West a little bit to find the cornucopia shaped Andromeda again. Keep following the cornucopia shape to find Perseus, which has kind of a similar shape, except opening up toward the southern horizon and the Pleiades. Below Perseus and Andromeda will be Triangulum,

a small thin triangle, and Aries the Ram, which looks more like a curved walking cane on its side.

Before Work:

Orion – Look southwest to find the vertical bow-tie that is Orion the Hunter

End of podcast:

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