November is a time of transition in the night sky. The signature star pattern of summer, the Summer Triangle, drops down the western sky during the evening, while some of the leading constellations of winter, including Orion and Canis Major, creep into view by mid- to late-evening. The zone between them is noticeably devoid of bright stars and constellations. It is dominated by the “celestial sea,” a collection of faint star patterns with a watery theme that stretches from Capricornus, the sea goat, to Cetus, the sea monster. Lonely Fomalhaut, in Pisces Austrinus, the southern fish, is the only bright spot in this stretch of stars.
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In the Sky This Month
November 11: Gemini Twins
Gemini is known for its brightest stars, Pollux and Castor. They mark the heads of the mythological twins. The stars climb into view, in the east-northeast, by about 10 o’clock. Castor stands a bit above its brighter “twin.”
November 12: Moon and Aldebaran
The just-past-full Moon has a close, bright companion tonight: the star Aldebaran, which represents the eye of the bull. They are in view all night.
November 13: Summer Reminder
One of the signature star patterns of summer, the Summer Triangle, remains in fine view. It is high in the west at nightfall. The brightest star in the triangle is Vega, in the constellation Lyra.
November 14: Leonid Meteors
A minor dust storm will sweep into Earth’s upper atmosphere the next few nights, producing a smattering of Leonid meteors. But the Moon will overpower the show. Only the brightest “shooting stars” will shine through the moonglow.
November 15: Triangulum
The constellation Triangulum is a skinny triangle wedged between four bigger constellations, including Andromeda the princess and Perseus the hero. If you have a dark sky, look for Triangulum well up in the east at nightfall. Its wedge aims to the right.
November 16: Triangulum Galaxy
Under especially clear, dark skies, the galaxy M33 is just visible to the naked eye. At three million light-years, it is one of the farthest objects visible to the eye alone. As night falls, it’s above the stars that outline the constellation Triangulum.
November 17: Moon and Regulus
Look for the Moon high in the sky at first light tomorrow. Regulus, the bright star that marks the heart of Leo, the lion, will stand to the lower left of the Moon.