November 2012 Stargazing

Thinking of taking advantage of the dark skies now that it’s November? Great! Get out there and gaze upwards – how many of the millions of stars will you be able to see? Well, hopefully this little guide will point you in the direction of some of the major sights to see in the sky this November.

Talking of millions of stars, did you see this stunning new picture of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy produced from images taken by a telescope in Chile (VISTA survey telescope at European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory)?

VISTA gigapixel mosaic of the central parts of the Milky Way

VISTA gigapixel mosaic of the central parts of the Milky Way. Credit: ESO/VVV Consortium. Acknowledgement: Ignacio Toledo, Martin Kornmesser

Wow! Over 84 million stars spread over a whopping 9 billion camera pixels. Those behind the image at ESO have produced a zoomable image that you simply have to try to appreciate the full scale of this incredible picture.

Moon Phases

  • Last Quarter – 7th November, 00:36
  • New Moon – 13th November, 22:08
  • First Quarter – 20th November, 14:31
  • Full Moon – 28th November, 14:46

Times are listed in Universal Time (UT).

Sunrise and set from Glasgow

  • 7 Nov 2012 – Sunrise 07:37 Sunset 16:24
  • 13 Nov 2012 – Sunrise 07:50 Sunset 16:12
  • 20th Nov 2012 – Sunrise 08:04 Sunset 16:01
  • 28th Nov 2012 – Sunrise 08:19 Sunset 15:51

Times are listed in Universal Time (UT).

The Planets You Can See

Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Saturn continue to flank the Sun this month, making them tricky to spot.

Venus rises about 05:00; Saturn about 06:00; just in front of the Sun. Mercury and Mars aren’t too far behind the sunrise. Just after sunset, Mars may just be visible low on the Western horizon.

Jupiter continues to be the highlight when it comes to planets to spot in the sky. Rising about 18:00, it’s in the South East around midnight close to the red star, Aldebaron – the eye of Taurus the bull – and should provide quite rich pickings for stargazers looking in this part of the sky.

Although Uranus is in the South West around midnight, both it and the further outlining planet, Neptune aren’t visible without the aid of a telescope or binoculars.

The View from Glasgow, UK in November

The night of the New Moon is 13th November, and if the weather plays along, it should be the best night to view the fainter objects in the sky this month. The Leonids meteor shower peaks around midnight on 16th November into the pre-dawn sky of the 17th. As their name suggest this meteor shower appears to eminate from the constellation of Leo and we might be lucky enough to see around 15 ‘shooting stars’ per hour.

The view looking South from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012

The view looking South from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012

The view looking South from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012. Made using Stellarium.

Be sure to look out for Jupiter within the horns of Tauus the bull, close to the red giant star, Aldebaron.

The view looking West from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012

The view looking West from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012

The view looking West from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012. Made using Stellarium.

The tail of the swan Cygnus is formed by the star Deneb bathed by the Milky Way. If you’re lucky enough to be away from any light pollution and the night is clear, you should be able to see this band of milky white light that forms the galactic plane.

The view looking North from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012

The view looking North from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012.

The view looking North from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012. Made using Stellarium.

Look north and you should see the Plough (or Big Dipper) – an asterism that points to Polaris (the North star). Low on the horizon to the North West is one of the brightest stars in the sky, Vega.

The view looking East from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012

The view looking East from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012.

The view looking East from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012. Made using Stellarium.

Looking East around midnight you’ll see the twins, Castor and Pollux of the constellation Gemini. Above them is Capella – the goat star; and below them and to the South East is Procyon forming an arc with Sirius, the dog star.

Whole Sky View from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012

Whole Sky View from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012

Whole Sky View from Glasgow, UK on 13th November 2012. Made using Stellarium.

The constellation of Cassiopea is almost directly overhead and points to the Andromeda Galaxy – a fuzzy patch of light that is some 2.4 million light years from us and the farthest object you can view with just your eyes.

Constellation of the Month

It’s a good time of year to find that most noteable of constellations – Orion. At the moment, things seem extra special with the planet Jupiter close-by in the horns of Taurus the bull.

The image below shows the constellations surrounding Orion. Being able to find Orion will help guide you to constellations like Taurs, Gemini, Canus Major and Minor, Auriga and many more.

Orion and surrounding constellations and main stars.

Orion and surrounding constellations and main stars. Made using Stellarium.

In the above image you can see the constellation of Orion, the Hunter and some of the brightest stars in the constellations that surround it. Orion is a wonderful signpost in the sky and a good starting point to navigate the night sky from.

Orion in November 2012 night sky

Orion in November 2012 night sky. Made using Stellarium.

In November 2012, Orion the Hunter fends off Taurus the bull as normal, but added to the mix is the planet Jupiter making it an even richer part of the night sky to look out for.

Elsewhere on derekshirlaw.co.uk

Find my Top 5 Winter Night Sky Objects for yourself.

Explore the constellation of Orion further.

Discover Gemini – the constellation of the twins.

About Derek Shirlaw

I'm passionate about science communication, social media, and my home country, Scotland. In particular, I have a real interest in astronomy, digital marketing, and the great outdoors.
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