... at a glance
In November, the night is getting very short. The Sun is setting at 8pm and rises at 6am. The Galactic centre sets at sunset. Orion and the edge of the galaxy rise after sunset. The Magellanic Clouds are finally in a very good position to observe.
What is cool about November is that the Pleiades are back in the evening sky – which is why Halloween is celebrated around this time of the year. Here in Aotearoa, we have one of the most beautiful asterisms in the night sky that stretches about 270 degrees around the horizon: the canoe of Tama Rereti. The constellation of Scorpius is the bow of the asterism of Te Waka O Tama Rereti. It lays on the western horizon. The galactic centre is now only half-visible and after the sunset is sinking beyond the horizon. The Southern Cross (also in the Milky Way) is the anchor of the canoe and is positioned due south and Orion (at the edge of the Galaxy) is the sternpost of the canoe, laying on the eastern horizon. The Hyades and the Pleiades are the feathers and the ripples in the water. Check out the posts below about this very beautiful legend.
If you wish to become a serious stargazer, first, you need a pair of binoculars. We recommend getting binoculars before buying a telescope. We love using them, plus, when stargazing with binoculars you use both eyes. There’s nothing like using both your eyes to see faint objects.
The Moon, The Planets, Double Stars (Alpha Centauri, Gamma Velorum, Beta Muscae and Upsilon Carinae, are all great binocular targets. Then, of course, the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way in general but in November, the Milky Way lays low so the Magellanic Clouds are the next best thing. Browse them and you will discover hidden gems.
Some fantastic deep sky objects (for telescope viewing) are Helix Nebula and the Grus Quartet. The Helix Nebula is a great object to observe as it’s the largest planetary Nebula in the night sky. It’s quite faint but if you’ve got an OIII filter you will definitely see a lot more. The Grus Quartet is a stunning group of four galaxies in the constellation of Grus and throughout November they are in a great viewing position in the evening. Three of the galaxies are quite close together and the four is a small distance away. Those with a long focal length eyepiece may get all four in the field of view at once!
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