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Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of November 2019

Posted by Guy Pirro   11/04/2019 06:02PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of November 2019

On May 9, 2016, Mercury passed directly between the Sun and Earth, as captured in this image. This event is called a transit. On November 11, 2019, Mercury will once again transit across the face of the Sun and appear as a dark round spot that seems to crawl across the Sun’s surface. Solar transits are much rarer than eclipses of the Moon. The next Mercury transit that will be visible from North America isn't until 2049. As for Venus, the next solar transit will not occur for another century, on December 11, 2117. Not all transits are the same because from Earth’s perspective, the planets cross the Sun at different places, sometimes just grazing the Sun's outer edges. The 2019 Mercury transit is an especially good one because it will pass very close to the Sun’s center, making it a real treat for observers. (Credits: NASA, JPL – Caltech, and the Office of Public Outreach – STScI) (Image Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, SDO, Genna Duberstein)



Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of November 2019

Welcome to the night sky report for November 2019 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In November, hunt for the fainter constellations of fall, including Pisces, Aries, and Triangulum. They will guide you to several galaxies, including the spiral galaxy M74 and M33 (the Triangulum Galaxy). On November 11 we're in for a rare treat, as the innermost planet, Mercury, passes directly in front of the Sun. The event will last about five and a half hours, during which Mercury's path will take it right across the middle of the Sun's disk. The next Mercury transit that will be visible from North America isn't until 2049. (Warning: You should never look directly at the Sun without proper protection, as it can permanently damage your eyes). The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

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. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has rendered it in exquisite detail. 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.


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 is relatively large and diffuse from our perspective, and can be spotted with binoculars. NASA’s space telescopes have imaged M33’s spiral features in great detail.

On November 11 we're in for a rare treat, as the innermost planet, Mercury, passes directly in front of the Sun for a few hours. This event is called a transit, and for Mercury they happen only about 13 times in a century. (Transits of Venus are even more rare.)

The event will last about five and a half hours, during which Mercury's path will take it right across the middle of the Sun's disk. For observers in the Eastern US, the transit begins after sunrise, meaning you'll be able to view the entire thing. For the central and western US, the transit begins before sunrise, but there's enough time left as the Sun climbs up the sky for you to catch a glimpse before Mercury makes its exit.





Warning: You should never look directly at the Sun without proper protection, as it can permanently damage your eyes.

If you have a pair of eclipse shades, those are typically OK for viewing the Sun, but Mercury is so small in comparison that it is impossible to see a transit without magnification.

Your best bet is a telescope with a certified sun filter, but other options include solar projection boxes and sun funnels. Better yet -- NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft will be sharing near-realtime images during the transit. Whatever method you choose, be safe when observing the Sun.

The next Mercury transit that will be visible in the US isn't until 2049. So if you're in the US, you might want to make the effort to catch this special celestial event.

A more frequent type of transit you might want to check out is the regular dimming and brightening of Algol (the Demon Star).

Found in the constellation Perseus, Algol is actually two stars orbiting each other, and they're oriented nearly edge-on such that from our perspective, the smaller star regularly passes in front of the larger, brighter one, causing it to dim for about 10 hours at a time. This happens like clockwork, every 2 days, 20 hours, 49 minutes. You can find tables of these "minima," as they're called, in lots of astronomy magazines and websites.

To observe Algol's eclipses, find the date and time of a predicted minimum and start observing maybe an hour or two before that time. Take a look about every half hour (binoculars are really useful for this). Over a few hours following the minimum, Algol will slowly brighten back to its normal state.

At its normal brightness, Algol appears about as bright as the nearby star Almach, while at its minimum, it dims to around the brightness of its neighbor Gorgonea Tertia. So these two stars provide a helpful way to compare Algol's brightness throughout the night as you observe.

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."


Constellation: Aries

NGC 772                      Galaxy                         Herschel 400 H112-1

     - NGC 770               Galaxy                              - Paired with H112-1

NGC 821                      Galaxy                         P234


Constellation: Cetus

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


Constellation: Fornax

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


Constellation: Leo

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


Constellation: Perseus

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


Constellation: Pisces

NGC 488                      Galaxy                         Herschel 400 H252-3

NGC 524                      Galaxy                         Herschel 400 H151-1

NGC 628                      Galaxy                         M74

NGC 676                      Galaxy                         P175


Constellation: Taurus

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


Constellation: Triangulum

NGC 598                      Galaxy                         M33 Herschel 400 H17-5 Triangulum Galaxy

NGC 925                      Galaxy                         P66


For more information:

Northern Latitudes:’s+Up


Equatorial Latitudes:


Southern Latitudes:



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