Jeffers Foundation

PHENOLOGY & ASTRONOMY

Data from Freshwater Society Minnesota Weatherguide Environment Calendar and Almanac (Jim Gilbert for Phenology and Rod Nerdahl for Astronomy)

Phenology

Phenology: Second Week of November

Low sun angle now makes driving more difficult in mornings and afternoons. This is the time to wrap the trunks of young trees, especially fruit trees, for winter protection from both sun and rodent damage. A few common dandelions continue blooming in lawn areas, but the flowers are on very short stems. European larch trees are at fall color peak and show superb smoky-gold foliage. Evergreens such as pines, spruces, firs, and yews add much interest to the mid-November landscape. The winds spread countless common milkweed and cattail seeds on their carriers. Native red cedar trees have taken on a purplish-brown look for winter. The first snowy owls of the season have moved into northern Minnesota.

View the November Phenology Information from the Freshwater Society Minnesota Weatherguide Environment Calendar and Almanac >>

Species of the Month

Long-eared owl (Asio otus)

Long-eared owl (<em>Asio otus</em>)
Russ Myrman

Yes, the long-eared owl has prominent long ear tufts, but like similar adornments on other owls the tufts are simply feathers and have nothing to do with hearing. Like most other birds, the owl' ear openings are hidden beneath feathers on the sides of the head. Owls are never very numerous. Long-eared owls are found in southern Minnesota year-round and in the north mostly during the growing season. They are a slender, crow-sized owl of dense forests. With feathers compressed, a roosting long-eared owl looks like a broken branch. They feed mainly on small mammals like mice, shrews, and rabbits caught at night.

Astronomy: November

Highlights
Highlights
November has one of the year's best meteor showers: the Leonids. The term means "children of Leo," referring to the shower's radiant; meteors will seem to emanate from this point in the sky. Though a waxing gibbous Moon will wash out the mid-evening sky, it will be setting at 2 am when the meteor shower begins to peak. The best meteor watching will be during pre-dawn hours.

Morning Stars

Unlike its tour through last month's evening sky, Venus's orbit is extremely tilted (nearly 60 degrees) relative to the morning horizon. This makes Venus appear to leap into the morning sky. At the end of the month, it's a full 23 degrees above the horizon an hour before sunrise. Jupiter spends the entire month lost in the glare of the Sun, finally moving into the morning sky on November 26.

Evening Stars

On November 6, Mercury reaches Greatest Eastern Elongation at 23.3 degrees from the Sun, though the low angle of the ecliptic leaves it less than seven degrees altitude at sunset, making it difficult to spot. True to its namesake, it hustles over to Inferior Conjunction a mere ten days later, passing in front of the Sun and into the morning sky. Mars starts each night this month in nearly the same spot: 147 degrees azimuth at sunset. While Mars moves in its orbit, the ecliptic pushes south with the coming winter, making it appear to cancel Mars' westward motion in the sky. The Moon passes within one degree of Mars near midnight on November 17. Saturn begins each evening in the southwest, setting three hours after sunset in the beginning of the month and two hours before sunset by the end. It is joined by the Moon on November 11.

Sun Declination

View the November Astronomy Information from the Freshwater Society Minnesota Weatherguide Environment Calendar and Almanac >>

LOOK FOR

Freeze-up for Lake Waconia (Carver County):
2016 December 9
2015 December 19
2014 November 21
2013 November 27
2012 December 10

TEACHER PHENOLOGY PREVIEW

TEACHER ASTRONOMY PREVIEW

November ASTRONOMY PHENOMENA

4th, Central Standard Time resumes - 2:00 am

7th, New Moon Descending Cold (Ojibwe) - 10:02 am

14th, Moon apogee (251,245 miles) - 9:55 am

15th, First Quarter Moon - 8:54 am

16th, Moon near Mars in south - After sunset

17th, Leonids Meteor Shower peak - 10:27 am

22nd, Full Moon Hunter's Moon - 11:39 pm

26th, Moon perigee (227,807 miles) - 6:12 am

29th, Last Quarter Moon - 6:19 pm

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