WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

What's up in the sky Nov 15-21

Posted November 15, 2020 6:26 p.m. EST

Four astronauts are set to launch for the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Dragon Capsule tonight at 7:27 p.m.

Space Force forecasters at the 45th Weather Squadron see a 50/50 chance of favorable weather for tonights launch. They'll be watching for storms developing across central Florida Sunday evening. Forecasters are also watching measurements of the electrical potential of the atmosphere from field mills scattered across the Cape. Readings throughout the day look encouraging.

Live coverage of the launch at its preparations is available on NASA TV.

Tuesday, November 17 into Wednesday

The Leonid meteor shower peaks over night. 10-12 meteors per hour are expected to be visible from a dark location. The thin waxing crescent Moon will provide favorable conditions. 

The best time to view will be in the hours before sunrise when the radiant point in the constellation Leo will be at the highest point in the sky. That radiant point is inside the backward question mark formation that makes up the head of Leo the lion constellation.  Venus will be low on the horizon below.

Meteors can appear in any part of the sky so look to the darkest part. That may not be near Leo.

The Leonid Meteor Shower peaks the morning of Nov 18

Wednesday, November 17

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has a number of virtual events for all ages, each is offered virtually.

  • 11:00 am: Explore the mysteries of the Mesozoic. Join paleo detectives as they uncover fossils, footprints and other clues from our planet’s prehistoric past in the Natural Sciences Classroom event. Free registration is required.

  • 1:00-3:30 pm: Dr. Gina-Maria Pomann Director of the Duke Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) will speak at the museums STEM Carreeer Showcase with a focus on students with disabilities. Free registration is required.

  • 7:00 pm: Virtual Trivia Tuesdays. Free registration is required.

Thursday, November 18

The International Space Station will rise from the southwest at 6:13 p.m. passing brightly to the east before dimming as it passes into Earth's shadow in the east.

Thursday, November 19

After sunset, look for the Moon to join Saturn and Jupiter to be joined by the waxing crescent Moon separated by just a few degrees. The Moon, Jupiter and Saturn line up the previous evening.

Look for Saturn and Jupiter to be joined by the Moon on Nov 19

Friday, November 20

The International Space Station will rise from the southwest at 6:15 p.m. passing brightly overhead dimming as it passes into Earth's shadow in the northeast.  It will grow in brightness throughout the pass.

Friday, November 21

The International Space Station will rise from the southwest at 5:27 p.m. passing to the right of Saturn and Jupiter before setting on the northeastern horizon.

Looking Ahead

The alpha-Monocerotid meteor shower peaks the evening of Sunday. This is generally a weak shower but has produced outbursts in past years.  A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse will occur in the early morning hours of November 30.

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