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 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 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 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 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 18: Rising Ram
Aries, the ram, is low in the east at nightfall and soars high across the south in late evening. It’s a faint pattern marked by only a couple of moderately bright stars: Hamal, its brightest, and Sheratan, its second-brightest.
November 19: Orion Returns
Orion, the hunter, is in full view by about 9 or 10 p.m. Look for his three-star belt standing straight up in the east. Orion’s brightest stars line up to the sides of the belt, roughly parallel to the horizon as they rise.
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.