Orion and Taurus
November is the first month of long nights and we are starting to see the familiar winter constellations. Orion the Hunter appears in the sky just before midnight. Just to the right of Orion is Taurus the Bull with the bright red star Aldebaran and the star cluster the Pleiades or ‘Seven Sisters. They too are now becoming more conspicuous. This is the best time to look for the autumn constellations during the evening; the Plough is low in the north and the ‘W’ of Cassiopeia overhead. The summer triangle stars Altair, Deneb and Vega are now becoming low in the west.
If you look to the south the Square of Pegasus is very prominent; a line drawn from the top left hand star of the square shows a line of stars that form the constellation of Andromeda. Below Andromeda is one of the few constellations that look like the figure they are supposed to describe; Triangulum the Triangle. Using the two right hand stars of the Square of Pegasus draw a line down for some distance to find Fomalhaut, the brightest star in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus (the Southern Fish).
The planet Venus is brilliant in the south west after sunset. Setting around 6pm. Just to the right of Venus is Saturn but it will be sinking below the horizon and will disappear by the start of next month. Mars can be found in Sagittarius at the start of the month, moving into Capricornus by the months end.
Neptune: well you will need a telescope to see this distant planet in the constellation of Aquarius. It sets around midnight. Uranus drops below the horizon around 4am and is in the constellation of Pisces.
The early birds amongst you can enjoy the sight of a bright Jupiter rising in the east around 3.30am in the constellation of Virgo
There are two meteor showers this month. The Taurid meteor shower consists of slow moving meteors that often produce spectacular fireballs and is visible from November 5th-12th. On November 16 to the 17th the Leonid meteors will be on display. Every 33 years the Leonids produce spectacular displays, but this is year the Moon will spoil our view of all but the brightest shooting stars just an ordinary year.
Phases of the Moon for November, will be: First Quarter 7th, Full Moon 14th, Last Quarter 21st and a new moon on the 29th.