This month's planet is Jupiter, which was at opposition at the beginning of the month. So it's at its best and brightest for us to look at. Saturn
is still in a good place to view - being a bit farther to the right of Jupiter.
Although Uranus reaches opposition towards the end of the month (because it's in the middle of two constellations - just to the left of Jupiter - between the constellations Taurus, The Bull and Cetus, The Great Sea monster), it will be a bit harder to spot.
Neptune is also in between Saturn and Jupiter. So you will need some star hopping skills to find them.
Venus is amazing in the morning sky. You can't miss the goddess of beauty if your up before the Sun is.
Mercury is slowly moving away from the Sun - up higher in the evening sky, but I don't think it will be in a great position for us to see it this month sadly. A tiny white dot very low on the horizon.
Mars is also very close to the Sun creeping past it into the morning sky as the month goes on. But we won't be able to see it for a few months now.
with the moon out of the way, it's a great time for the Taurid meteor shower. Sadly, it only has a maximum of 5 shooting stars per hour. But thats 5 more than
you would have on a normal sporadic meteor night, and as I always say, you never know if a fireball will burn up in the sky that night.
Taurus, The Bull, can be found above Orion this time of year. In fact, if you draw a straight line up from his belt of 3 stars, you will see a lovely little cluster of stars - the Pleiades, brand new baby stars around here - and is where the meteors will be radiating from.
While here, why not pop left to the bright star Capella in Auriga - known as the Goat Star. Auriga is a big pentagon of stars in the sky. Grab a pair of binoculars and look in its centre to see a group of awesome stars called The Leaping Minnow - it looks like a fish jumping out of water.
You may also spot some round smudges in this area. Grab a telescope and you will have found a trio of clusters known as M36, 37 and 38 - a group of awesome clusters. Keep looking around as Auriga has many clusters waiting to be found.
Uranus reaches opposition tonight, so it will be a great time to see if you can spot the time planet. But as stated earlier, it will be a slightly tougher find with telescopes
as it's in the middle of nowhere between constellations main stars.
Uranus can be found in between the bright pleiades and Jupiter, but it's in the middle of no real close sign posts, so to find it you will have to star hop up from the stars in Taurus to its location. It will look like a small pale disk, the colour of Blu Tack.
Back to the transits of Jupiters Moons,
Europa, with its smooth icy crust, may have an ocean of liquid water under it and possibly life. It will transit Jupiter with its shadow following suit, but at a reasonable time of
4:35pm. Just as it gets dark until 7:28pm, you won't need to stay up late to see it. If you look closely you would likely see another moon, Callisto, which will be drifting south of
the planet. The shadow of Europa will be just below the massive red spot - that is Jupiter's trademark storm.
A comet known as 62P / Tsuchinshan buzzes past the Beehive cluster in Cancer the Crab tonight as well. Through the month, it has moved down from Gemini to Cancer, then will continue past towards Leo. With magazines saying it should be visible with binoculars, a great photo opportunity for those astro photographers to grab while it's by the awesome cluster. They say it's better in the early hours of the morning, as it will be higher in the sky. It will be near the cluster on the 14th, 15th and 16th.
Tonight its the largest moon in the solar system's turn. Ganymede will just cross the very bottom of the planet with its shadow joining it just as the moon moves off between 8:43pm and 11:45pm. So you will see the moon pass followed by the shadow on its own.
The Leonid meteor shower peaks this morning with around 15 meteors an hour. Although, Leo The Lion, doesn't start rising until midnight, you should be good from then until around 4:00am - a
late night for those keen astronomers or an early rise.
If you are out at this ridiculous time, try have a peek at The Lions rear leg - just below the star that represents its hip. There is a cool cluster of galaxies here that you may be able to see with a telescope - known as the Leo triplet. You get 3 for the price of one here.
Over the last few evenings, the Moon has crept nearer to the ringed planet Saturn, until it makes its closest approach this evening creating a nice sight for us as the Sun sets. The planet will appear above it, slowly shifting right and down past as the night goes on. Maybe a tracking camera could get a trail of the planet moving round the Moon - with a bit of skill just like the stars do Polaris.
Plato crater will look cool on this evenings Moon. Just at the top of the huge Mare Imbrium, you can see this awesome crater. There are also a host of others and mountain ranges for you to discover with you scopes.
Have another look at the area you spotted Plato and you will see the light has moved more to the left on the Moon allowing you to now see what looks like a bite out of the Mare here. This is known as the Jura mountains or Montes Jura, which tips glisten as the sunlight hits them.
Ganymede again, only just moves slightly across Jupiter just skimming the face of the planet with its shadow transiting the planet just after the moon itself leaves between 11:58pm to the early hours of 3:50am - making it
the last transit of the month.
Watch the Moon slowly close in on Jupiter as the night goes on just passing it as it rises again on the 25th. You will see that it has moved across the sky now moving away from the gas giant Jupiter tonight.
Is full Moon time, so not great for spotting those faint objects, but great for our ancestors to see their prey by - which is why it's called the hunter Moon - giving them a much needed helping hand for getting some extra meat to preserve to help them survive over the long winter months.
Comet 103p / Hartley is also a morning comet best seen mid month when the Moon is out of the way. It will be harder to find as it's in a dim big constellation known as Hydra. But, on the 30th it will be to the right of the star Alphard in Hydra. You should be able to spot it after 1:00am with the comet being to its right at 3:00am. One for the hardened astronomer.
Clear skies guys, and remember... there's a billion worlds in your back garden!