November Skies

Optical & Chandra X-ray Image of Andromeda Galaxy
(image credit)

November skies have many offer many fine targets for back yard observing of our universe.  Check out the monthly sky guide tab for a video with more about what's up in November.  The video barely scratches the surface, though.  Here are a few of my favorites under November skies...


M31 the Andromeda Galaxy as seen through
 binoculars from a dark location
(image source)
The Andromeda Galaxy is a fine object to start with.  Because of it's size, it is best viewed with low powers from a dark location.  Good binoculars or an 80mm f/5 telescope will give nice views, even from suburban locations.  The rule of thumb with any galaxy is, the darker the location, the better the view. 

This galaxy covers well over two degrees of sky, so a smaller, wide field instrument is needed to see all of it at once.  Larger telescopes will give more detailed views of the central portion, and it's two nearby companion galaxies.

Variable Stars:

There are always many variable stars that are interesting to monitor.  Two of my favorites are Algol, and Herschel's "Garnet Star".

Algol, also known as Beta Persei, is an eclipsing binary system that varies in brightness from magnitude 2.1 down to 3.4 every 2.867 days.  The drop in brightness to minimum, and the return to magnitude 2.1 all takes place over just a few hours, making it possible to view the entire process in one long night of observing.

For more about viewing Algol, try this link.

Herschel's "Garnet Star" aquired this moniker from Sir William Herschel, who described it as having "a very fine deep garnet colour".  Also known as Mu Cephei, the star varies in brightness from a relatively bright magnitude 3.6 down to 5th magnitude, much fainter yet still visible to the unaided eye from most backyards.

Mu Cephei is one of my favorite stars not so much because of it's variablity, but because of it's fine color and the facts about the star.  Mu Cephei is one of the 5 or 6 most massive stars known.  It's estimated distance of about 1,500 light years makes it look a lot fainter than it really is.  This star has a diameter of about 15 astronomical units, one A.U. being the mean distance from the earth to the sun.  If this was our sun, it would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter!

Check it out with binoculars and see how red you think this star is.  I think it looks ruby red in 10x50's, while in an 8" SCT it looks bright orange with yellow tints.

Here is a link to a wiki about the constellation Cepheus that has a chart.  Mu Cephei is the star just above I.C. 1396 towards the bottom of the chart.

Star Clusters:

So many star clusters, so little time.  That's how I feel on a clear night with a telescope once I get started cluster hopping.  I truly enjoy observing star clusters with my 8" SCT.  Many of the brighter clusters look great, or even best in a smaller, wider field scope.  The 8", however, really opens the door to a wide vista of lesser known objects, some of which are beautiful.

For some clusters and asterisms, a small telescope or even binoculars are hard to beat.  Some fine examples are M45, the Pleiades; NGC 869 & 884, the Double Cluster; the Haydes Cluster in Taurus; and Collinder 399, the Coathager in Vulpecula.  These are all visible in November.

A larger scope of 4-8 inches will showcase some less frequented star clusters which can hold their own with some of these apparently larger, more popular targets.  Among these are NGC 457 and 663 in Cassiopea; NGC 6910 in Cygnus; NGC 7160 and I.C. 1396 in Cepheus.  These are just a few of the interesting objects I enjoy in November.

The Moon & Planets this month:

Of course, Jupiter is still a fantastic sight all of November.  Venus is easily visible as a huge crescent shape just before sunrise, even in 10x50 binoculars.  Last but not least, our moon cycles through the sky each and every month, offering different targets each night as the phase changes.  Here's a link to a fun and informative site about the moon.  Check it out.

Thanks for dropping in,



  1. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find most of
    your post's to be just what I'm looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content for you?

    I wouldn't mind writing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome weblog!

    My weblog :: vancouver Island vacation

  2. I'm curious to find out what blog system you're using?
    I'm having some minor security problems with my latest blog and I'd like to find something more safeguarded.
    Do you have any recommendations?

    Feel free to visit my weblog internet marketing company in india

  3. I do not drop a great deal of responses, but i did a few searching and wound up here "November Skies".
    And I actually do have a couple of questions for you if you tend not to mind.
    Could it be only me or does it look as if like a few of these comments look like they
    are left by brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are writing on additional online
    sites, I'd like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Would you list of all of all your social pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    Feel free to visit my homepage - ideas for Opening a business

  4. I absolutely love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did
    you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I'm wanting to create my very own website and would love to find out where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Cheers!

    Check out my web blog - bad credit mortgage second

  5. It can be also caused by prolonged use of certain medications like
    aspirin, ibuprofen, antidepressants and sedatives.
    It is usually a symptom of a larger disorder and in some cases does
    not cause great concern but in others it is a big
    problem. Dihuang (Rehmannia glutinosa):It is a Chinese herb.

    Have a look at my weblog :: tinnitus miracle

  6. I pay a quick visit every day a few sites and sites
    to read content, except this web site gives feature based writing.

    Feel free to visit my blog :: reseller hosting companies

  7. It is actually a nice and helpful piece of info.
    I am satisfied that you shared this useful information with us.

    Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Review my page us islands vacation

  8. Thanks for another magnificent article. The
    place else could anybody get that kind of info in such an ideal method of writing?
    I've a presentation next week, and I'm on the look for such info.

    Also visit my homepage seo experts toronto

  9. Very nice article, totally what I was looking for.

    my site; Homeowner Loans For Bad Credit

  10. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old
    daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear."
    She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

    My site :: best Online business ideas