I apologize for the lack of posts this past month. It’s been rough! We’ve been taking turns being ill in my household, and I was super busy organizing and preparing our first ever Halloween planetarium show and Spooky Science Night demonstrations at my university. I’m writing a new show for production now, too, but I am starting to get back on track.
Today I have prepared a couple of eastward-facing star maps for early November for you, so if you need to get out away from election news tonight, you can try to find a few stars…provided it isn’t cloudy for you (it is for me) and that your light pollution isn’t too bad. These are for mid-northern latitudes at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
In a previous post I talked about Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Andromeda, Perseus, Pegasus, and Cetus. Those constellations are still up, so if you haven’t shared their lovely gory tales with your kids yet, there is still time. Otherwise, the sky in this direction is what I’ve always thought of as a set of dim, stringy, water constellations. They are certainly not as distinct as Orion, anyway. Don’t be too discouraged if you have troubles picking them out. You’ll want to get out where it is dark and clear.
Pisces the Fish has a circlet underneath the square of Pegasus and another underneath Andromeda, and they are connected by an angle. To the right is Aquarius the Water Bearer, which, I confess, I tend to dismiss a bit. Capricornus the Sea Goat is to the right of Aquarius, and has a bit of a chevron shape, or like a big smiley mouth. Other watery constellations include Pisces Austrinus, Cetus the Whale, and Delphinus the Dolphin. Pisces Austrinus has a fairly bright star in it, Fomalhaut (fo-ma-low).
If you go out later, you can see Orion! Yay! Orion is above the horizon by about 10 p.m. (I have more about gazing at Orion here.) Above Orion is Taurus the Bull with the bright orangey-red Aldebaran, and its planetary visitor, Jupiter. You might also notice a little mini-Dipper star cluster in it called the Pleiades. Bring some binoculars with you and have a look at them.
For a more complete sky map for November, including versions for other latitudes, you can download and print one from skymaps.com.