Great astronomical events

 
 
 
  • Conjunction of Venus and Saturn: On November 27 these two bright planets will be visible close together and will be clearly visible from most places on the planet, even down here on the southern tip. (Shutterstock)

  • Jupiter at opposition: On December 3 Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth in a year an will be clearly visible across the globe. Of course, best viewed through a telescope. (Shutterstock)

  • Leonids: Taking place on November 17 and 18 this year, you can spot this prolific meteor shower from anywhere in the world. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo. Turn your gaze upwards after midnight on these dates and you're bound to see up to 40 meteors an hour shooting through the night sky. (Dark Sky Diaries)

  • Lunar eclipse: This prenumbral lunar eclipse will see the moon pass through the Earth's shadow on 28 November. Weather permitting Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, East Africa and eastern parts of Asia will offer the best spots from which to observe the phenomena. (Shutterstock)

  • Solstice... or maybe Armageddon?! This year's summer solstice (December 21) also signifies the end of a 1,000 year cycle in the Mayan calendar. Whatever your take on the whole 2012 thing may be, astronomers have been advised to keep their eyes on the heavens in case of any extraordinary celestial events. Maybe you should too. (Shutterstock)

  • Northern lights: Between December 2012 and April 2013 the Northern Lights will reach a crescendo of movement and colour. Northern Scandinavia, Canada and Russia are traditionally the best place from which to view the lights, but scientists are anticipating this year could rival the display of 1958 when they were spotted as far south as Mexico. (Shutterstock)

  • Partial solar eclipse eclipse: It's a little far off, but if you're into these sort of things you might want to mark November 3, 2013 on your calendar. This partial solar eclipse will be visible from eastern North America, northern South America, southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. (Shutterstock)

  • Saturn at opposition: On April 28 next year, the ringed planet will make its closest approach to earth in the year and should be clearly visible (through a telescope) from most places on the planet, including South Africa. (Shutterstock)