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.
This month will see some nice conjunctions. A conjunction is when two objects appear close to each other in the sky. There is also a lunar eclipse on 19th November, however it is only a partial eclipse and will take place just as the Sun rises making it hard to see. If you fancy a try, start looking at the Moon (which will be in the east) around 7am on the morning of Friday 19th November. The darkest part of the shadow will begin to cross the Moon at 7:18am. This is when it will start to look as though a bite has been taken out of the Moon. This bite is the shadow cast by the Earth.
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 1 hour 90 mins before sunrise. By the end of the month it rises about 1 hour before sunrise. On the morning of the 3rd Mercury will be close to a 3% crescent moon and should be a really beautiful sight.
Venus is in the evening sky in November. It is dazzlingly bright but is low to the horizon so sets quite quickly after the Sun. Look south west in the hour after sunset. At the start of the month it sets by 6.30pm and by the end of the month this has increased to 6.50pm. On the evening of 7th November look for Venus joined by the 11% illuminated Moon around 5pm. If you miss this opportunity on 7th, try again on 8th November when the now 20% illuminated moon will be to the south of Venus.
Mars is still very close to the Sun so it is very difficult to see this month.
Jupiter remains in the sky in November and is high in the south as darkness falls. By the end of the month Jupiter will already starting to get lower in the sky as darkness falls. It is still very bright and is hard to miss in the sky. if you need some help finding it, the Moon will be south of it on 11th November.
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 planet gets lower in the sky each evening. At the end of the month you will notice that Jupiter, Saturn and Venus all make a line in the early evening sky.
Stars and Constellations
The above sky chart, from heavens-above.com is for 23:00 on 15/11/2021. 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.