Unfortunately, this month is a little short on any major events to see in the sky with the naked eye. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are still visible and now that the clocks have gone back it is dark early and you don’t have to stay up late to go out and observe the sky. Given that it is November, it will be cold, and you will need to wrap up warm or your night outside will quickly become very unpleasant.
One event that may be possible to see this month is an event called an occultation. An occultation is when the Moon passes in front of another object. This month, on the 5th November, the Moon occults a start cluster called M35. This will take place between 1.20am and 03.00 am on the morning of the 5th. It probably won’t be possible to see this with the naked eye but if you have a small telescope or binoculars you should be able to see the Moon with the star cluster disappearing behind it.
Sun and Moon
|Date||Sunrise (Irish Time)||Sunset (Irish Time)|
Mercury is visible in the morning sky in November. It will rise over the south east horizon about 70 minutes before sunrise. By the end of the month it rises about 1 hour before sunrise.
November is still a good month to spot Venus. It rises about 3.5 hours before sunrise and will be extremely bright in the east. It will be unmistakable.
Mars was at opposition on 13th October and will dominate the sky again through November. It will appear as a salmon – pink coloured star and will have already risen when the sky gets dark. It will start off in the east and move towards the west as the night goes on. It will be bright but will get dimmer as the month goes on.
Jupiter remains in the sky in November but is low in the west as darkness falls. It will be close to Saturn and will be the brighter of the two. As the month goes on the two planets will appear to get closer.
Saturn is visible close to Jupiter, it will also be low in the west as darkness is falling. It will be the dimmer of the two stars. As the month goes on the two planets will appear to get closer.
Stars and Constellations
The above sky chart, from heavens-above.com is for 23:00 on 15/11/2020. You can click on the chart to open a new tab and bring you to Heavens Above. On this website you can generate a custom chart for the time and date you wish. The summer constellations are gone and the winter constellation are appearing on the eastern horizon after sunset.
High overhead are Cepheus (the house), Cassiopeia (the queen), Andromeda and Pegasus (the flying horse). Andromeda is the location of the Andromeda galaxy which is the furthest object that can be seen with the naked eye. Although, you will need very dark skies to see it. Andromeda and the Milky Way galaxy are headed for a collision and will collide in an estimated 4.5 billion years.
In the south at this time of year, is the constellation of Pisces (the fish) and Aquarius (the water bearer). Mars is also in this area of the sky. Over in the east we have the winter constellations rising. You will see Taurus (the bull) which has a distinctive “V” shape and beside it the Pleiades or M45. Also visible will be Orion (the hunter). Most people are somewhat familiar with this constellation and will be able to pick out Orion’s belt. You may also be able to pick out the Orion nebula just below the Orion’s belt. This is a star forming region 1,344 lightyears away.