The Night Sky in November

There’s plenty to see in the night sky this month. Cygnus is still high in the sky in the early evening, and the Milky Way running through to Perseus and Cassiopeia is directly overhead, and is well worth sweeping with binoculars. Lots of open clusters to see, with the great Double Cluster in Perseus the most spectacular. The Andromeda Nebula (M31) is also high in the sky. Looking further south, Uranus is continuing its decades long climb back into northern skies, and can be found (with a good star map) below the great square of Pegasus. The dearth of bright planets is coming to an end, with Jupiter in Gemini rising at about 9pm.

It’s new moon today(Sunday the 3rd), indeed there is a solar eclipse visible across much of Africa, so for dark skies try to find a break in the wind and showers over the next week, before the moon gets too bright (or in the last week of the month after last quarter). This kind of weather can produce great transparency when it does clear.

Comet ISON is a morning sky object, and gradually getting brighter. Earlier expectations of a spectacular show have now been dampened, but if it survives its very close approach to the sun on 28 November, there should be opportunities to see it in December.