Here's a Look At November's Stargazing Events
In October, we witnessed the Harvest Moon and a blue moon on Halloween. We were also visited by the galaxy Andromeda which had a spiral appearance similar to the Milky Way.
Mars was also present in the night sky as it reached its highest point in the sky at midnight. It was a constant reminder of the current spacecraft missions to the Red Planet and an inspiration for the upcoming human explorations.
This November, skywatchers will be seeing Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, the Pleiades, and Earthshine. The especially bright full moon, or the Beaver Moon, marks the season that beavers will be working under the night sky to build their winter damns. Moreover, the four major events can be seen without binoculars or a telescope.
The Pleiades are a cluster of stars known as the Seven Sisters. The 100-million-year-old cluster contains thousands of stars and will be visible anywhere on Earth. The Pleiades will be seen east of Orion's Belt, or the row of three stars, and the bright reddish star called Aldebaran.
Aldebaran is derived from the word follower in Arabic. It was believed that the star was eternally chasing the Pleiades across the night sky. Generally, the cluster will rise on the east before Aldebaran and sets on the west of the reddish star.
Aside from marking the arrival of the winter season, the Pleiades can also be seen in April. The best time to view the cluster is around midnight when they are at the highest point in the sky. Also known as an open star cluster, the thousands of stars from a misty dipper shape similar to the Big Dipper.
Historically, the Pleiades marked the beginning of navigation season in the Mediterranean. The cluster also gets its name from the Greek word meaning "to sail."
Meanwhile, in New Mexico, the cluster was known as the "Seed Stars." After the cluster disappears from the heavens in the springtime, it marks the new season of seed-planting.
Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus
On November 18 and 19, the crescent moon will be joined by Jupiter and Saturn. This month, the two planets will appear the closest to the moon. The two planets moving closer together will be brightest just after the New Moon.
The Morning Star, or Venus, will also appear on the 12th right below the moon. At the same time, the moon will be illuminated by the sunshine and Earthshine.
Lastly, the night side of the moon will shine brighter than usual, also known as Earthshine. The "eerily beautiful glow" is when the Sun reflects light off the planet, bounces off the moon, and back to us.
A few days after the New Moon on the 15th would be the best time to observe Earthshine. The bright moon will also be easily seen after sunset from the middle of the month until the 20th.
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