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Last Week's Stargazing Tips

November 17: Cetus

Cetus, the whale or sea monster, is one of the largest constellations. It glides across the southern sky on November evenings. Most of its stars are quite faint, though, so Cetus is difficult to pick out.

November 16: Bright Triangle

A right triangle of stars decorates Perseus and Andromeda, which are high in the east and northeast as darkness falls. Almach, Andromeda’s third-brightest star, marks the top of the triangle. Algol stands below it, with Mirfak to the left of Algol.

November 15: Leonid Meteors

The quiet but steady Leonid meteor shower should be at its peak over the next night or two. The gibbous Moon sets by 1 or 2 a.m., so it won’t spoil the display. At the shower’s best, you might see a dozen or more “shooting stars” per hour.

November 14: Moon and Mars

Look for Mars quite close to the upper left of the Moon this evening. Although it has faded a good bit since summer, the planet still looks like a bright orange star.

November 13: Helix Nebula

A star that is in the middle of a colorful end-of-life display is in Aquarius, which is in the south at nightfall. The star has created the Helix Nebula, a double ring that looks like a giant eye. The nebula has been expanding for more than 10,000 years.

November 12: Venus and Spica

Venus, the “morning star,” has a bright companion the next few days: Spica, the brightest star of Virgo. Tomorrow, they will be separated by less than the width of your finger held at arm’s length. They will stay within a finger-width for about a week.

November 11: Moon and Pluto

The Moon will pass quite close to Pluto today. For most American skywatchers, Pluto will stand just to the upper right of the Moon as they rise this afternoon, and a little farther to the lower right of the Moon after night falls.