It’s the Northern Hemisphere’s Frosty Moon. Flower Moon for the Southern Hemisphere. November full moons follow the path of the sun in May. The moon reaches the crest of its full phase on November 25 at 22:44 Universal Time. At US time zones, that translates to 5:44 p.m. EST, 4:44 p.m. CST, 3:44 p.m MST and 2:44 p.m PST.
The star Omicron Ceti – aka Mira – in the constellation Cetus varies in brightness like clockwork over 11 months. That’s why, for centuries, stargazers have called it Mira the Wonderful.
The November 24 moon is edging up on the constellation Taurus the Bull, with its bright star Aldebaran and prominent Pleiades star cluster. How to spot them. This post also explains how – even though the moon and Taurus will go westward across the sky – the moon is always moving eastward relative to the stars!
Orion the Hunter is one of the easiest constellations to identify in the night sky. You will find Orion rising in mid-evening in late November and early December. Depending on where you live, this constellation will climb over your eastern horizon by around 9 p.m. tonight. The mighty Hunter appears to be lying on his side when you first spot these stars in the east. Orion’s Belt juts upward, and his two brightest stars — Betelgeuse and Rigel — shine on opposite sides of the Belt.
Tonight – on November 22, 2015 – as the moon travels in front of the constellations of the Zodiac, it’ll appear in the general direction of the planet Uranus. Tonight is a good night to locate the constellation Pisces, which is behind the moon and Uranus now. Then you can search for the stars of Pisces again – and maybe find Uranus, too – in a dark country sky toward the end of this month, after the moon has dropped out of the evening sky.
In our Northern Hemisphere, the Big Dipper is probably the sky’s best known asterism. In other words, it’s a recognizable pattern of stars — not an official constellation. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major, otherwise known as the Great Bear.
Every year, the Big Dipper (Great Bear) descends to its lowest point in the sky on November evenings. In fact, people in the southern part of the United States can’t see the Big Dipper in the evening right now, because it swings beneath their northern horizon.
Tonight – November 20, 2015 – the moon is near the First Point of Aries, one of two equinoctial points on the imaginary celestial sphere surrounding Earth. The First Point of Aries is where the ecliptic and sky’s equator intersect. The ecliptic is a projection of the Earth’s orbital plane upon the celestial sphere. The celestial equator is a projection of the Earth’s equatorial plane upon it. If you were to imagine breaking up the sky into a grid surrounding Earth – marking lines of celestial latitude and longitude – the First Point of Aries would mark the zero point of longitude in our sky.
Neptune, the eighth planet out from the sun and outermost of the major planets according to the International Astronomical Union, is the only major planet in our solar system that you absolutely can’t see with the unaided eye. It’s near the moon on the night of November 28, but because of the moonlit glare, you won’t see Neptune very well, even if you have a telescope. What will you see? Only the moon shining in all its splendor. You can gaze at it and imagine Neptune nearby.
Although the moon and Neptune are close together on the sky’s dome tonight, they’re nowhere close in space. The moon resides about 1.2 light-seconds from Earth, whereas Neptune looms way out there at over four light-hours away. In other words, Neptune is over 12,000 times farther away than the moon in tonight’s sky.
The constellation Andromeda the Princess is renowned for the Andromeda galaxy, but anyone with even a modest telescope would be remiss to overlook Andromeda’s star Almach (Gamma Andromedae), which appears in a telescope as one of the finest double stars in all the heavens.