Tomorrow before dawn – November 29, 2015 – it’ll be hard to miss the planets Venus and Jupiter blazing away in the sky before sunrise. In the predawn hours, you can also catch Spica, the constellation Virgo’s brightest star, near Venus. After you spot Venus and Spica, think of this. For the rest of your life – every 8 Earth-years (every 13 Venus-years) – Venus and Spica will meet up in this same place in the morning sky.
Here’s your FAQ for this Friday ….
Light is the fastest-moving stuff in the universe. It travels at an incredible 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second. That’s very fast. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. How far is that?
Tonight and tomorrow night – November 27 and 28, 2015 – before going to bed, look for the moon in your eastern sky. It’ll be a bright waning gibbous moon, and you might notice two bright stars in its vicinity. These stars are noticeable for being both bright and close together on the sky’s dome. They are Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini.
The Summer Triangle is the signature star formation of summer, but you can see it in autumn, too. It’s made up of the three brilliant stars – Vega, Deneb and Altair – in three separate constellations. The The Summer Triangle still lights up these autumn evenings. What’s more, the Summer Triangle will continue to shine after dark throughout December and January. Look for it this evening, in your western sky.
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 over about 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.