By Roger Chambers
November is a dreary, dismal month with skies gray skies. deciduous brown trees with orange remnants of the few remaining orange leaves. Days are short and cool to cold, with sunset before 5 p.m. after the clocks fall back an hour at 2 a.m. to Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, November 5.
About four inches of precipitation falls in November, usually a cold rain, but occasionally as snow. It can be cold and damp. Temperatures are generally in the 40°s to low 50°s F days, and mornings are often frosty. The record high was 80° F on November 2, 1950, and the record low was 0°F on November 24, 1956.
November Holidays and Observances
November 1 All Saints Day
November 2 All Souls Day
November 4 Will Rogers Day
November 7 Election Day
November 11 Veterans Day
November 12 Elizabeth Cady Stanton Day
November 19 Discovery of Puerto Rico Day
November 19 World Health Organization World Toilet Day
November 23 Thanksgiving Day
November 24 Black Friday / Acadian Day in Louisiana
November 27 Cyber Monday
November is a month dominated by Election Day early in the Month, and Thanksgiving Day at the end of the month. In between is Veterans Day. This day is based on Armistice Day marking the end of World War I in 1918. In the 1970s, it was the second Monday in November holiday. However, veterans’ groups complained about losing the historical origins of the holiday, and the date of observance was changed back to November 11. It is known as Remembrance Day in Canada and Britain.
Veterans Day honors all veterans of the U.S. military. Most years there is a parade in South Utica. In recent years, there has been quite an impressive display of about one thousand flags along the Parkway in Utica for several blocks linking several of Utica’s various war and military monuments in the area.
Election Day in odd years usually does not have as large a turnout as even years of national elections. However, the election of city and town councils, county and state legislators is an important aspect of our democracy. It is a civic responsibility to cast a vote in local, state, and federal elections, but many do not vote, with the percentages low compared to most democratic countries.
This year, one question is: Should New York State hold a constitutional convention? This is a ballot question every twenty years. Many argue that it is a good thing. Others believe that it would be the same corrupt politicians who have power now who would form the assembly. Threats to certain parts of the constitution such as the “forever wild” clause so important to much of the Adirondack Park could be threatened.
Generally, Thanksgiving is a non-commercial holiday except for the strong emphasis on food, and family gatherings. However, it is the beginning of the ever more frenzied and economically important annual burst of commercial activity, work and organizational Christmas parties, seasonal religious and musical celebrations and family gatherings. In recent years, this has crept ever earlier, with some activities now planned for the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving. Traditionally, for perhaps three decades Santa Claus made his first appearance at local malls and shopping centers on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Black Friday is one of the largest shopping days of the years, and now often begins on Thanksgiving evening or at midnight. Small Business Saturday shifts the focus to the importance of supporting local business in clothing, jewelry, music, or other consumer goods, instead of the Walmart’s and big box stores of the suburban malls. Let’s not forget, Cyber Monday, a huge day for shopping for the season online, presumably during coffee break time at work.
Hockey Season gets into full swing in November. The Utica Comets continue to be a big draw at the newly refurbished Utica Memorial Auditorium. This facility is also used by the Utica College Pioneers. This means quality ice hockey is on tap almost every weekend mid fall to mid spring.
In the Night Skies
No planets are high in the sky or easily seen this month. Venus is very low on the pre-dawn horizon. Venus and Jupiter have a conjunction low on the eastern horizon on mornings of the 12th-14th. The morning star is below the Moon on the 16th and to the right of the Moon on the 17th. On the 14th, the Moon, Mars, and blue star Spica form a straight line. On the 20th, the Crescent Moon has Saturn to its left and below the Moon. Mercury is rather bright at dusk but at a very low 8° above the horizon.
Taurid Meteor Shower 5-12 Comet 2P/Encke
Scorpio Secrets October 23-November 22
November 23-December 21
Sunrise: 7:02 a.m. Sunset 4:31 p.m.
Moonrise: 9:32 a.m. Moonset 7:12 p.m.
Mercury: 5:36 p.m.
Venus: 5:59 a.m.
Mars: 3:30 a.m. Jupiter: 5:15 a.m.
Saturn: 6:15 p.m.
Full Beaver Moon: November 4
Last Quarter: November 10
New Moon: November 18
First Quarter: November 26