Last Week's Stargazing Tips

November 26: Moon and Taurus

Taurus, the bull, stands to the upper right of the Moon as they rise this evening. The bull’s V-shaped face is formed by the Hyades star cluster. The bright orange “eye,” Aldebaran, forms one point of the V, although it’s not a member of the cluster.

November 25: Moon and Aldebaran

The Moon stages a close encounter with Aldebaran, the bright eye of Taurus, the bull. From parts of the United States, the Moon will actually cover the star before dawn.

November 24: Hearth Fire

Orion climbs into view in the east by around 9 p.m. In European mythology, Orion was a hunter. But to the Maya, those stars probably represented a turtle and the “hearth” of the heavens, corresponding to the central fire in a Mayan household.

November 23: Rarae Aves

Two birds wade low across the southern sky early tonight. They are the constellations Grus, the crane, and Phoenix, the firebird. They are best seen from the southern third of the country, with Grus standing a little taller than its cousin.

November 22: Monoceros

The faint constellation Monoceros, the unicorn, rises in late evening below much-brighter Orion. It is to the lower left of Orion’s Belt, a short line of three bright stars that rises straight up from the horizon.

November 21: Polaris

Look for the North Star, Polaris, tonight and every night. If you can’t find it, line up the stars at the outer edge of the Big Dipper’s bowl. Follow that line up and away from the bowl until you come to the first moderately bright star, Polaris.

November 20: Lunar Plains

About four billion years ago, boulders as big as cities slammed into the Moon, blasting holes in its surface. The holes later filled with molten rock, which cooled to form dark volcanic plains, which form the dark features we see on the Moon today.


©2015 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory