With the return to standard time, November evenings come very early for northern observers. Our monthly Sky Tour lets you hunt down a not-so-nice celestial queen and other sky sights before dinner!

This episode is sponsored by Celestron, manufacturer of high-quality telescopes and an industry leader in developing exciting optical products with revolutionary technologies.

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About three fists to the upper right of Polaris, look for five medium-bright stars crudely shaped like a “3” or like a broad “W” tipped up on its left corner. This is the constellation Cassiopeia, who is a queen in Greek mythology. Ancient poets say Cassiopeia was queen of either Ethiopia or Joppa, the city now called Jaffa in Israel. In any case, she was both beautiful and boastful. Cassiopeia’s misdeeds landed her up in the sky, doomed to hang upside down half the time and clinging to her throne so she doesn’t fall off. But there's much more to this story, as you'll learn in this month's Sky Tour astronomy podcast.

This is also the time of year to track down Fomalhaut, the bright but lonely autumn star found low over the southern horizon. It’s part of the dim constellation known as Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish, and in fact Fomalhaut means “mouth of the fish” in Arabic.

Switching to the predawn sky, head outside at least a half hour before sunrise. Get a clear sight line toward east, and you'll easily spot brilliant Venus not far up. But this month you can also catch a glimpse of fleet-footed Mercury as rockets up into view for its best predawn showing of the year. The podcast will tell you where and when to look for Mercury.

Venus and Mercury on Nov 13th
In mid-November, early risers have an excellent chance to spot the elusive planet Mercury in a pretty grouping with Venus, the star Spica, and a very thin crescent Moon.
Sky & Telescope

More planets await you in the evening sky. Mars shines brightly over in the east. Look to the upper-left of the sunset point to find Jupiter and dimmer Saturn is a bit to its upper left. That's right: November offers the chance to see all five naked-eye planets!

There’s lots more to see on November evenings, and this month’s Sky Tour astronomy podcast is a fun and entertaining way to track down these celestial treats. No stargazing experience or equipment is needed! In fact, this month you'll learn how you and your family can contribute to science by just looking up at the stars and noting what you see (full details are here).

So if you’ve got 12 minutes to spare, why not give our Sky Tour a listen?


Image of Andrew James

Andrew James

November 2, 2020 at 5:26 pm

Giggle! "Cassiopeia’s misdeeds landed her up in the sky, doomed to hang upside down half the time and clinging to her throne so she doesn’t fall off." I'd of thought the centripetal force of the spinning around the celestial pole would hold her on the chair. She was also bound to a chair - her sin was being vainglorious, showing both vanity or hubris - meaning she actually couldn't fall off. Her image with her arms tied appears in Hyginus' Poeticon Astronomicon, for example.

I also note how the Greek mythology so openly derides women. An excellent article is this is here.

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