Taurus, the celestial bull, is one of the highlights of autumn nights. Its brightest star, orange Aldebaran, rises around sunset in November and reaches its highest point in the sky around midnight. The sparkly Pleiades star cluster, which looks like a tiny dipper, rises to the upper left of Aldebaran. One of its horns ends at the appropriately named star El Nath, the butting one.
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In the Sky This Month
November 20: More Orion
The brightest stars of Orion, which is in the east this evening, are both supergiants. Betelgeuse, at Orion’s shoulder, is a red supergiant, while Rigel, the foot, is blue-white. Look for them flanking the three bright stars that form Orion’s Belt.
November 21: Moon and Aldebaran
The star Aldebaran appears near the Moon the next couple of nights. The eye of Taurus, the bull, stands to the lower left of the full Moon this evening. The Moon will move closer to it later on. Aldebaran will stand even closer to the Moon tomorrow night.
November 22: More Moon and Aldebaran
Aldebaran, the bright eye of Taurus, stands quite close to the upper right of the just-past-full Moon this evening. The proximity of the brilliant Moon should make it difficult to see the star’s orange color.
November 23: Pleiades at Midnight
The Pleiades star cluster passes high across the south at midnight. If you see the cluster out of the corner of your eye, it looks like a bright smudge of light. Look straight at it, though, and you will see six stars that form a tiny dipper.
November 24: InSight at Mars
Mars is about half way up the southern sky as night falls. The planet looks like a bright golden star. The latest Mars lander, InSight, is scheduled to touch down on the planet tomorrow. It will study the Red Planet’s interior structure and temperature.
November 25: Jupiter in Conjunction
The planet Jupiter is in conjunction today as it passes behind the Sun as seen from Earth. The solar system’s giant world will return to view in the dawn sky in a few weeks, shining like a brilliant star.
November 26: Moon and Regulus
The Moon slides toward the star Regulus, the heart of the lion, the next couple of nights. Regulus climbs into good view by about midnight. It rises far below the Moon tonight, but will stand quite close to the lower right of the Moon tomorrow night.