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Beta Pegasi

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The Great Square of Pegasus passes high overhead this evening. The star at its northwestern corner, Beta Pegasi, is a red giant. The star is nearing the end of its life, so it has puffed up to gigantic proportions.

Orion Rising

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Orion, one of the most conspicuous constellations of winter, is climbing into evening view. Look for Orion's Belt, a short line of three bright stars standing almost straight up from the southeastern horizon.

New Moon

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The Moon will be new early tomorrow as it crosses the line between Earth and Sun. It is lost in the Sun’s glare, but will return to view as a thin crescent shortly after sunset on Thursday.

The Twins Rise

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The constellation Gemini clears the eastern horizon by about 9 p.m. and climbs high overhead during the night, highlighted by the bright stars that represent Gemini’s twins. Castor rises first, with brighter Pollux following almost directly below it.


Sat, 26 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Harry Potter fans may boo when they hear its name, but Bellatrix is one of the hottest, brightest stars in the neighborhood. It forms a shoulder of Orion the hunter. It climbs into good view by 8 or 9 p.m., to the upper right of bright orange Betelgeuse.

Witch Head Nebula

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

One of the highlights of Eridanus, the river, is the Witch Head Nebula. It’s illuminated by Rigel, a brilliant star in nearby Orion. Rigel is to the right of Orion’s Belt, with the nebula, which is visible through a telescope, to Rigel’s upper right.

More Moon and Jupiter

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Look for Jupiter close to the upper right of the Moon at first light tomorrow. The planet looks like a brilliant star. The true star Spica, which is fainter than Jupiter, is below the Moon.

Moon and Jupiter

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The planet Jupiter looks like a brilliant star close to the lower left of the Moon at first light tomorrow. The bright star Spica, the leading light of the constellation Virgo, stands almost directly below it.

Starry Skies

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

By late evening, the bright yellow star Capella stands high in the northeast. The colorful stars of Orion stretch across the southeast. And the brightest of them all, Sirius, rises below Orion.

Last-Quarter Moon

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The Moon reaches its “last-quarter” phase early today. It stands at a right angle to the line from Earth to the Sun, so sunlight illuminates exactly half of the lunar hemisphere that faces our way.

Moon and Regulus

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The lion’s brightest star, Regulus, stands just a whisker from the Moon as they climb into view after midnight. The star is at the bottom of a pattern that looks like a backwards question mark, which stretches to the star’s upper left as it rises.

November Milky Way

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

November evenings are good times to watch the Milky Way, the combined glow of millions of stars in our home galaxy. It arches from east to west, with a dip toward the northern horizon. You need a dark sky to see it, far from the glow of city lights.


Fri, 18 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Cassiopeia stands high in the north on November evenings. Although it represent a queen, to modern eyes the constellation looks like the letters M or W. Cassiopeia is surrounded by fainter stars, so it is fairly easy to pick out.

Doomed Pleiades

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The Pleiades is the most famous of all star clusters. Right now, it’s in good view in the east by about 7 p.m., above Aldebaran, the bright orange eye of Taurus, the bull. It looks like a small but bright dipper.

Moon and Betelgeuse

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Betelgeuse, a bright orange star that marks the shoulder of Orion, stands to the right of the gibbous Moon as they climb into good view by around 9 p.m. They stick close together for the rest of the night.

Leonid Meteors

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The Leonid meteor shower is at its best the next couple of nights. Unfortunately, most of its meteors will be overpowered by the bright Moon. To have a chance to see them, find a dark viewing spot and look between midnight and dawn.

Moon and Aldebaran

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The Moon takes aim at the bull tonight. It is to the upper right of Taurus’s V-shaped head as night falls, and nose-to-nose with the bull at first light tomorrow. The bull’s brightest star, Aldebaran, is easy to pick out through the moonlight.

Frosty Moon

Sun, 13 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The Moon will be full tomorrow, so for the next couple of nights it rises around sunset and soars high overhead during the night. Tonight, it is in the southeastern corner of Aries. The full Moon of November is known as the Frost Moon.

Morning Jupiter

Sat, 12 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The planet Jupiter stands low in the east-southeast at first light, and looks like a brilliant star. In fact, it is the brightest object in the sky at that hour other than the Moon, so it’s hard to miss.


Fri, 11 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Today is Martinmas, a celebration of a “cross-quarter” day. These days fall about half way between a solstice and an equinox. In times gone by, they represented the start of the seasons. Martinmas commemorates Saint Martin of Tours, who was executed in 397.


Thu, 10 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The constellation Aries, the ram, forms a skinny triangle in the east as darkness falls. In mythology, Aries possessed the golden fleece sought by Jason and his crew of Argonauts.

Tail of the Whale

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Deneb Kaitos, the “tail of the whale,” swims across the southern sky. The moderately bright star forms the tail of Cetus, the whale or sea monster. At 9 p.m., it stands about halfway between the southern horizon and the point directly overhead.

Flying South

Tue, 08 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Grus the crane and Phoenix, the mythical bird, creep low across the south this evening. Look for Fomalhaut, a bright star in a relatively empty region of the southern sky. Both constellations stand below Fomalhaut around 8 or 9 p.m.

First-Quarter Moon

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The Moon is at first quarter today, indicating that it is a quarter of the way through its month-long cycle of phases. Sunlight illuminates exactly half of the lunar hemisphere that faces Earth.

16 Cygni

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Cygnus, the swan, which looks like a giant cross, soars high across the west as night falls. One of its treasures is the double star 16 Cygni, which is just visible to the unaided eye. One of it stars has a planet, which is much larger than Earth.

Moon and Mars

Sat, 05 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Mars remains in the evening sky this month. The planet looks like a fairly bright orange star. It is especially easy to find tonight, because it stands close to the left of the crescent Moon.


Fri, 04 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Pegasus, the flying horse, gallops across the sky tonight. The constellation's most prominent feature is the Great Square -- four relatively bright stars that stand high in the east as darkness falls.


Thu, 03 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

The constellation Sagittarius is about to drop from view. Right now, it is quite low in the southeast at nightfall. Its brightest stars form the outline of a teapot. A semicircle of stars known as the southern crown arcs to its lower left.

More Moon and Planets

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Look for the Moon low in the southwest as darkness falls tonight. Venus, the dazzling “evening star,” stands to its lower left, with fainter Saturn closer below the Moon.

Moon and Planets

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Two planets stand to the upper left of the Moon after sunset. The brighter one is Venus, the “evening star,” while fainter Saturn is close to its right.