Stargazing Information

October offers some of the best skywatching conditions of the year. The nights are getting longer, while the weather is cooler but not yet bitter. The evening sky offers such treats as Andromeda and several other constellations associated with her story, and the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters in Taurus. Jupiter is climbing higher into the morning sky, while Mars is getting ready to exit the evening sky.

This Week's Stargazing Tips

October 31: Samhain

Halloween has ancient roots. One of its traditions dates to the Celtic new-year festival of Samhain, which was celebrated at this dark time of year. Celtic tradition held that spirits could walk the Earth, while the living could visit the underworld.

November 1: Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time ends tonight. Most of the country will “fall back” by one hour, regaining the hour of sleep lost back in March. The United States has used Daylight Saving Time off and on since World War I.

November 2: Ready for Landing

Some of the stars in one of the Milky Way galaxy’s spiral arms pass high overhead this evening. It is known as the Perseus Arm because it snakes through Perseus and Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia looks like an M or W, with Perseus below it.

November 3: Mercury and Spica

The planet Mercury and the star Spica sweep past each other in the dawn sky the next few mornings. They are low in the east about 45 minutes before sunrise. Mercury is the brighter of the two, with Spica close to its lower right tomorrow morning.

November 4: More Mercury and Spica

Spica, the brightest star of the constellation Virgo, stands close to the right of the bright planet Mercury at dawn tomorrow. They are low in the east as twilight begins to paint the sky.

November 5: Deneb

One of the giants of the Milky Way stands high overhead at nightfall. Deneb marks the tail of Cygnus, the swan. It’s about 15 times as massive as the Sun, more than 100 times the Sun’s diameter, and more than 50,000 times its brightness.

November 6: Snow Moon

The Moon is full at 4:23 p.m. CST today as it lines up opposite the Sun in our sky. November’s full Moon is known as the Frost Moon or Snow Moon.

Check last week's tips if you missed a day.


©2014 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory