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

November 23: Auriga

Auriga, the charioteer, is low in the northeast early this evening and crowns the sky in the wee hours of the morning. Its leading light is brilliant Capella, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

November 24: Orion Returns

Orion, the hunter, is returning to prime viewing time. Tonight, it climbs into good view in the east by around 9 or 9:30. Look for its “belt” of three stars, which points almost straight up from the horizon as the hunter rises.

November 25: Moon and Mars

The little planet Mars is in good view this evening. It looks like an orange star close to the left of the Moon. They are low in the southwest at nightfall, and set a couple of hours later.

November 26: Galaxy Mergers

The stars of winter are working their way into the evening sky. Look for them in the east beginning around 10 or 11 p.m.: Orion, the hunter; Gemini, the twins; and Canis Major, the big dog, with its “dog star” Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky.

November 27: The Dragon

A dragon slithers low across the northern sky this evening, curling around the North Star. It is the long but faint constellation Draco. You need dark skies to make out its sinuous body.

November 28: Seasonal Wonders

For stargazers, no time is as spectacular as late fall and early winter, when the evening sky abounds with bright stars, such as Rigel and Betelgeuse in Orion, Aldebaran in Taurus, Capella in Auriga, and Sirius and Procyon in Canis Major and Canis Minor.

November 29: Grus

Grus, the crane, strides low across the southern sky this evening. From the southern half of the country, look for it along the southern horizon in early evening, with its neck extending well up into the sky. The constellation is below Fomalhaut, the brightest star in that area.

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


©2014 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory