Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of November 2023
Spiral galaxy M33 (NGC 598) is located in the triangle-shaped constellation Triangulum, earning it the nickname Triangulum Galaxy. About half the size of our Milky Way galaxy, M33 is the third-largest member of our Local Group of galaxies following the Andromeda galaxy (M31) and the Milky Way. Although others may have viewed the galaxy earlier, Charles Messier was the first to catalog M33 after observing it in August 1764. In the 1920s, astronomer Edwin Hubble studied dozens of variable stars (those that periodically change brightness) in M33, which helped him to estimate the object’s distance and prove that M33 is not a nebula within the Milky Way galaxy, as previously suspected, but actually a separate galaxy outside our own. [Video and Content Credits: NASA, the Office of Public Outreach – Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), JPL – Caltech, Preston Dyches, Christopher Harris, and Lisa Poje with subject matter guidance provided by Bill Dunford, Gary Spiers, Lyle Tavernier, and Molly Wasser] [Image Credit: John Lanoue, Astromart Gallery Contributor - https://www.astromart.com/gallery/photo/23697 ]
Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of November 2023
Welcome to the night sky report for November 2023 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. This month, hunt for the fainter constellations of fall, including Pisces, Aries, and Triangulum. They will guide you to several galaxies, including the spiral galaxies M74 and M33. Saturn rides high during the month and Venus and Jupiter are visible on opposite sides of the sky. Also, the Leonid meteors peak this month. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.
All month long, if you're up late and cast your gaze toward the east, you'll notice some familiar companions have begun rising late in the night. The familiar stars of Northern winter skies are returning, rising late at night and sitting high in the south by dawn.
You'll find the Pleiades star cluster leading the constellations Taurus the bull and the hunter Orion, followed by the brightest star in the sky, Sirius – all of them back to keep us company on the long winter nights here in the Northern Hemisphere. (And for those in the Southern Hemisphere, they're keeping you company on shorter nights as spring gives way to summer there.)
The dark, cold nights of November make for good hunting for the fainter constellations of fall. Pegasus flies high in the southeast after nightfall and is a good guidepost for some of autumn’s dimmer patterns.
Look south and east of the Great Square of Pegasus for Pisces, the fish. In Greek legend, the two fish, tied together with a rope, represent Aphrodite and Eros, who transformed themselves to escape a monster. The sprawling star pattern includes the Circlet, marking the western fish.
Located below the pattern of the eastern fish is the spiral galaxy M74. M74 is known as a grand design spiral and has two prominent bluish spiral arms wound neatly around the redder galactic nucleus. The nucleus appears redder because there is little new star formation there and many of the hot blue stars have evolved to become red giant stars or have exhausted their fuel altogether.
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope provides a dramatic view of the infrared light of the galaxy. The pink hues depict dust lanes that punctuate the spiral arms, showing dense cloud regions where new stars can form.
To the east of the Great Square and Pisces lies the small pattern of Aries the ram. The third-brightest star in the pattern, named Mesarthim, is a lovely pair of white stars, easy to distinguish in a small telescope.
Above Aries is the constellation of Triangulum. The constellation contains the third-largest galaxy of our Local Group, after the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies: M33, the Triangulum Galaxy. This galaxy, which is relatively large and diffuse from our perspective, can be spotted with binoculars.
NASA’s space telescopes have imaged M33’s spiral features in great detail. Spitzer’s infrared view shows the distribution of dust in its ragged spiral arms. An ultraviolet image from NASA’s GALEX mission shows emissions from hot stars in its disk. Look for the bright blue and white areas to see where star formation has been extremely active over the past few million years. Patches of yellow and gold are regions where star formation was more active 100 million years ago
This November, Jupiter is up in the sky all night and sets just before sunrise, while Venus rises in the early morning hours. This means you can see them on opposite sides of the sky if you happen to be up before dawn. You may recall that these two planets appeared super close together just a few months ago, back in March.
On the morning of November 9, find the crescent moon hanging just beneath Venus in the early morning sky before sunrise. Then on the 17th, look for a beautiful crescent moon sitting low in the southwest all by itself in the twilight following sunset. Thanks to the Moon illusion, which causes the rising or setting Moon to look larger, a crescent moon low near the horizon often appears extra captivating.
Then, after sunset on November 20, look toward the south to see the first quarter moon just below Ringed Planet Saturn. The pair are joined by bright stars Fomalhaut and Altair. And then on the 24th, look for the nearly full moon close to giant Jupiter in the east after sunset. Some binoculars will be able to capture both of them in the same field of view.
Finally, in the last few days of November, you'll notice Venus is rising in the morning with a bright star very close by. That star is Spica, which is actually two massive stars that orbit around each other every 4 days.
The annual Leonid meteor shower returns this month. The shower peaks overnight on November 17th, with the most meteors visible between midnight and dawn on the 18th. The Leonid meteors are dust particles that originate from comet Tempel-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1865 and orbits the Sun every 33 years.
Leonids tend to be bright, with many producing long trains that persist for a few seconds after the initial flash of light. To view the Leonids, find a safe, dark spot away from bright lights, lie down and look straight up. The meteors can appear anywhere in the sky.
This year, the Moon is near its first-quarter phase on the peak night. It sets just a couple of hours after nightfall, so it won't interfere with viewing Leonids. So bring a warm drink, bundle up, and enjoy your time searching for meteors in the November sky.
Looking toward the south a couple of hours after dark in November, you'll find the planet Saturn about halfway up the sky. This region of the sky is full of water-related constellations. For that reason, it's sometimes referred to as "the Sea" or "the Water."
Saturn currently sits within Aquarius, the water bearer, imagined as a human figure pouring water from a jug. Nearby are Pisces, the fishes, and Capricornus, the strange, mythical sea goat. Just beneath Aquarius is the Southern Fish, and just above him is the Dolphin. To the east of Aquarius you'll find the constellation Cetus, a sea monster or whale. And next to Cetus is the constellation Eridanus, which represents a long, winding cosmic river.
The night sky is always a celestial showcase. Explore its wonders from your own backyard.
The following Deep Sky Objects are found in constellations that peak during the month. Some can be viewed with a small telescope, but the majority will require a moderate to large telescope. The following is adapted from my personal viewing list: "The Guy Pirro 777 Best and Brightest Deep Sky Objects."
NGC 772 Galaxy Herschel 400 H112-1
- NGC 770 Galaxy - Paired with H112-1
NGC 821 Galaxy P234
IC 1613 Galaxy C51
NGC 157 Galaxy Herschel 400 H3-2
NGC 246 Planetary Nebula C56, Herschel 400 H25-5
NGC 247 Galaxy C62, Herschel 400 H20-5
NGC 584 Galaxy Herschel 400 H100-1
NGC 596 Galaxy Herschel 400 H4-2
NGC 615 Galaxy Herschel 400 H282-8
NGC 720 Galaxy Herschel 400 H105-1
NGC 779 Galaxy Herschel 400 H101-1
NGC 908 Galaxy Herschel 400 H153-1
NGC 936 Galaxy Herschel 400 H23-4
- NGC 941 Galaxy - Paired with H23-4
NGC 1022 Galaxy Herschel 400 H102-1
NGC 1042 Galaxy P221
NGC 1052 Galaxy Herschel 400 H63-1
NGC 1055 Galaxy Herschel 400 H1-1
NGC 1068 Galaxy M77 Cetus A Seyfert Galaxy
NGC 1097 Galaxy C67
NGC 1201 Galaxy P153
NGC 1316 Galaxy P30 Fornax A Galaxy
NGC 1326 Galaxy P154
NGC 1340 Galaxy P83
NGC 1350 Galaxy P155
NGC 1360 Planetary Nebula P84
NGC 1365 Galaxy P51
NGC 1380 Galaxy P85
NGC 1399 Galaxy P32
NGC 1398 Galaxy P33
NGC 1404 Galaxy P86
NGC 2903 Galaxy Herschel 400 H56-1
NGC 2964 Galaxy Herschel 400 H114-1
- NGC 2968 Galaxy - Paired with H114-1
NGC 3190 Galaxy Herschel 400 H44-2
- NGC 3187 Galaxy - Paired with H44-2
NGC 3193 Galaxy Herschel 400 H45-2
NGC 3226 Galaxy Herschel 400 H28-2 Paired with H29-2
NGC 3227 Galaxy Herschel 400 H29-2 Leo Seyfert Galaxy Paired with H28-2
NGC 3351 Galaxy M95
NGC 3368 Galaxy M96
NGC 3377 Galaxy Herschel 400 H99-2
NGC 3379 Galaxy M105, Herschel 400 H17-1
NGC 3384 Galaxy Herschel 400 H18-1
NGC 3412 Galaxy Herschel 400 H27-1
NGC 3489 Galaxy Herschel 400 H101-2
NGC 3521 Galaxy Herschel 400 H13-1
NGC 3593 Galaxy Herschel 400 H29-1
NGC 3607 Galaxy Herschel 400 H50-2 Paired with H51-2
NGC 3608 Galaxy Herschel 400 H51-2 Paired with H50-2
NGC 3623 Galaxy M65
NGC 3626 Galaxy C40, Herschel 400 H52-2
NGC 3627 Galaxy M66
NGC 3628 Galaxy Herschel 400 H8-5
NGC 3640 Galaxy Herschel 400 H33-2
- NGC 3641 Galaxy - Paired with H33-2
NGC 3655 Galaxy Herschel 400 H5-1
NGC 3686 Galaxy Herschel 400 H160-2
NGC 3810 Galaxy Herschel 400 H21-1
NGC 3900 Galaxy Herschel 400 H82-1
NGC 3912 Galaxy Herschel 400 H342-2
IC 348 Open Cluster P95
IC 2003 Planetary Nebula P237
NGC 650 Planetary Nebula M76 Little Dumbell Nebula
NGC 651 Planetary Nebula Herschel 400 H193-1 Part of M76
NGC 744 Open Cluster P96
NGC 869 Open Cluster C14a, Herschel 400 H33-6 Double Cluster (West)
NGC 884 Open Cluster C14b, Herschel 400 H34-6 Double Cluster (East)
NGC 957 Open Cluster P97
NGC 1023 Galaxy Herschel 400 H156-1
NGC 1039 Open Cluster M34 Spiral Cluster
NGC 1220 Open Cluster P238
NGC 1245 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H25-6
NGC 1275 Galaxy C24 Perseus A Seyfert Galaxy
NGC 1342 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H88-8
NGC 1444 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H80-8
NGC 1496 Open Cluster P174
NGC 1499 Diffuse Nebula P44 - California Nebula
NGC 1513 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H60-7
NGC 1528 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H61-7
NGC 1545 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H85-8
NGC 1582 Open Cluster P45
NGC 1605 Open Cluster P239
NGC 1624 Open Cluster P240
NGC 7078 Globular Cluster M15
NGC 7217 Galaxy Herschel 400 H207-2
NGC 7331 Galaxy C30, Herschel 400 H53-1
NGC 7448 Galaxy Herschel 400 H251-2
NGC 7457 Galaxy P173
NGC 7479 Galaxy C44, Herschel 400 H55-1
NGC 7814 Galaxy C43
NGC 488 Galaxy Herschel 400 H252-3
NGC 524 Galaxy Herschel 400 H151-1
NGC 628 Galaxy M74
NGC 676 Galaxy P175
Messier 45 Open Cluster M45 Pleiades
Caldwell 41 Open Cluster C41 Hyades
IC 1995 Diffuse Nebula P64
NGC 1514 Planetary Nebula P120
NGC 1554 Diffuse Nebula P200 Von Struve’s Lost Nebula
NGC 1555 Diffuse Nebula P201 Hind’s Variable Nebula
NGC 1647 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H8-8
NGC 1750 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H43-8
NGC 1807 Open Cluster P65
NGC 1817 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H4-7
NGC 1952 Diffuse Nebula M1 Crab Nebula
NGC 598 Galaxy M33 Herschel 400 H17-5 Triangulum Galaxy
NGC 925 Galaxy P66
For more information:
Watch Satellites Pass Over Your Location:
Astromart News Archives:
Check out some of my favorite Words of Wisdom:
Do you enjoy reading these postings?
Then click here and buy the Astromart staff a cup of coffee (and maybe even some donuts):
- AstroMart LLC
- Desert Sky Astro Products
- OMI OPTICS USA LLC
- AG Optical Systems
- Anacortes Telescope
- Pier-Tech Inc.
- Astromart Customer Service
- Matsumoto Company
- GetLeadsFast, LLC
- Wounded Warrior Project
- ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY BY MARTIN PUGH
View all sponsors