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Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of November 2021

Posted by Guy Pirro   11/03/2021 12:07AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of November 2021

In 1054, Chinese astronomers took notice of a “guest star” that was, for nearly a month, visible in the daytime sky. The “guest star” they observed was actually a supernova explosion, which gave rise to the Crab Nebula, a six-light-year-wide remnant of the violent event. With an apparent magnitude of 8.4 and located 6500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus, the Crab Nebula can be spotted with a small telescope. The nebula was discovered by English astronomer John Bevis in 1731, and later observed by Charles Messier who mistook it for Halley’s Comet. Messier’s observation of the nebula inspired him to create a catalog of celestial objects that might be mistaken for comets. Thus, the Crab Nebula (NGC 1952) took on the designation of Messier 1, or simply M1. This large mosaic of the Crab Nebula was assembled from 24 individual exposures captured by Hubble over three months. The colors in this image do not match exactly what we would see with our eyes but yield insight into the composition of this spectacular stellar corpse. The orange filaments are the tattered remains of the star and consist mostly of hydrogen. The blue in the filaments in the outer part of the nebula represents neutral oxygen. Green is singly ionized sulfur, and red indicates doubly ionized oxygen. These elements were expelled during the supernova explosion. A rapidly spinning neutron star (the ultra-dense core of the exploded star) is embedded in the center of the Crab Nebula. Electrons whirling at nearly the speed of light around the star’s magnetic field lines produce the eerie blue light in the interior of the nebula. The neutron star, like a lighthouse, ejects twin beams of radiation that make it appear to pulse 30 times per second as it rotates. [Video and Content Credits: NASA, the Office of Public Outreach – Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), JPL – Caltech, Preston Dyches, Christopher Harris, and Lisa Poje] [Image Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Hester and A. Loll (Arizona State University)].


Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of November 2021

Welcome to the night sky report for November 2021 -- 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 and a pair of white stars. Look for spiral galaxy M74 and the Triangulum Galaxy. Enjoy the Moon and planets after sunset all month, plus a lunar eclipse. A partial lunar eclipse will be visible to much of the world on Nov. 18th and 19th.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.

From November 6th through the 11th, watch the Moon glide past Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter after sunset in the south/southwest. In particular, if you step outside for a look on November 7th, you'll find the four-day-old crescent Moon just about 2 degrees away from Venus. Should be really pretty, so don't miss it.

And from now through early December, you'll find Jupiter and Saturn drawing a little closer to Venus each night.




A partial lunar eclipse is on the way, taking place overnight on November 18th and 19th, when the Moon slips into Earth's shadow for a couple of hours. Weather permitting; the eclipse will be visible from any location where the Moon appears above the horizon during the eclipse. Depending on your time zone, it'll occur earlier or later in the evening for you.

Now that's a huge swath of the planet that'll be able to see at least part of the eclipse, including North and South America, Eastern Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Region. So check the timing of its visibility for your area.

For U.S. East Coast observers, the partial eclipse begins a little after 2:00 AM, reaching its maximum at 4:00 in the morning. For observers on the West Coast, that translates to beginning just after 11:00 PM, with a maximum at 1:00 AM.

Partial lunar eclipses might not be quite as spectacular as total lunar eclipses – where the Moon is completely covered in Earth's shadow – but they occur more frequently. 

And that just means more opportunities to witness little changes in our solar system that sometimes occur right before our eyes.

This time of year provides brave chilly nights to enjoy the constellations, stars, and galaxies of the November sky.

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: Pegasus

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


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


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