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 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.
November 30: Phoenix
The southern constellation Phoenix, which is named for the mythological bird that was reborn from its own ashes, just peeks above the southern horizon this evening for skywatchers across most of the United States.
Check last week's tips if you missed a day.