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October 15: Andromeda Galaxy
The Andromeda galaxy is in good view right now. Tonight, it’s in the east-northeast as darkness falls, and overhead later on. It looks like a faint, fuzzy star. Small telescopes reveal its true nature: a family of hundreds of billions of stars.

October 16: Moon and Mars
The planet Mars is in good view at dawn tomorrow. It stands to the right of the crescent Moon, and looks like a moderately bright star. The much brighter planet Venus stands below them.

October 17: Moon and Venus
The beautiful “morning star” shines above the crescent Moon at dawn tomorrow. It’s not a star at all, though. Instead, it’s Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor. It shines so brightly in part because its surface is completely covered by clouds.

October 18: Uranus at Opposition
The planet Uranus is putting in its best appearance of the year this week. It rises at sunset and remains in the sky all night. It’s also closest to us for the year. It’s still so faint, though, that you need binoculars to find it.

October 19: New Moon
The new Moon will accompany the Sun as it climbs across the sky today. We can’t see the Moon because it is immersed in the Sun’s glare. The exact moment of new Moon is 2:12 p.m. CDT. The Moon will return to view after sunset tomorrow or Saturday.

October 20: Orionid Meteor Shower
The Orionid meteor shower should be at its best late tonight, and there will be no Moon in the sky then to spoil the show. The shower is known as the Orionids because its meteors “rain” from Orion, although they can streak across any part of the sky.

October 21: Little Dipper
The Little Dipper stands high above the Big Dipper, which is low in the northwest at nightfall. The Little Dipper’s bowl hangs upside down, like it’s pouring its water into the other dipper.

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October 22: Pherkad
The star Pherkad, which forms the lower outer corner of the Little Dipper’s bowl, is much bigger, brighter, and heavier than the Sun. Over a period of a few hours, though, its brightness varies by a few percent, and astronomers aren’t sure why.

October 23: Moon and Saturn
Look for the planet Saturn near the crescent Moon early this evening. It looks like a bright star to the left of the Moon as twilight fades away. They set about three hours after the Sun.

October 24: More Moon and Saturn
Saturn, the solar system’s second-largest planet, huddles to the lower right of the Moon at nightfall this evening. Saturn has the largest ring system of any of the Sun’s planets, and the second-largest known retinue of moons.

October 25: Drawing Stars
Andromeda, the princess, is in the east and northeast at nightfall. It’s faint, though, so you need dark skies to see it. Andromeda is associated with several other constellations that share a common story.

October 26: Blue Snowball
One of the treasures of the constellation Andromeda, which is low in the east and northeast at nightfall, is the Blue Snowball Nebula, a bubble of gas expelled by a dying star. The nebula is at the right edge of the constellation, above the Great Square of Pegasus.

October 27: First-Quarter Moon
The Moon is at first quarter today. It rises in early afternoon and sets around midnight. At first quarter, sunlight illuminates exactly half of the lunar hemisphere that faces Earth, so it looks as though someone sliced the Moon down the middle.

October 28: Moon Watching
A beautiful Moon slides across the southwestern sky this evening, in Capricornus. It is a day past first quarter, so the Sun illuminates more than half of the lunar hemisphere that faces our way. The Moon sets about 1 or 2 a.m.

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October 29: Sailing Along
The Moon is sailing across the “celestial sea,” a group of constellations related to water. By about 11 p.m. the sea will span the entire southern sky. It incorporates a sea-goat, the water bearer, the fishes, the southern fish, a sea monster, and a river.

October 30: Mirfak
The brightest star of the constellation Perseus befits the celestial hero. Mirfak is seven or eight times heavier than the Sun, about 60 times wider, and 5,000 times brighter. That makes it easy to see even though it is more than 500 light-years away.

October 31: Demon Star
A “spooky” star system in Perseus is one of the highlights of the Halloween sky. Two of its stars eclipse each other, causing the system to get fainter every three days. Early skywatchers found this frightening, so they named it Algol, the Demon Star.

November 1: Taurus Rising
Taurus, the bull, is climbing higher into the evening sky this month. It is in view in the east by about 9 p.m., but is well up in the sky a couple of hours later. Look for its V-shaped head and its bright orange “eye,” the star Aldebaran.

November 2: The Queen
Look high in the north and east during the evening hours this month for a flattened “W” or “M” floating through the Milky Way. The letter is outlined by five bright stars that mark the constellation Cassiopeia, the queen.

November 3: Full Moon
The Moon is full tonight, lining up opposite the Sun in our sky. The full Moon of November is known as the Frost Moon or Snow Moon. This year it also comes a month after the Harvest Moon, so it’s the Hunter’s Moon.

November 4: Bright Sky
The Moon is just past full this evening, so it’s a big spotlight that is in the sky all night. Even from locations far from city lights, the brilliant Moon can still overpower much of the view of the Milky Way, meteors, and other subtle lights.

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In the Sky This Month
One of the most popular stories from ancient myth- ology is told in a group of constellations that highlight November’s sky. Cassiopeia, the vain queen of Ethiopia, claimed that she was the most beautiful woman of all, angering the sea nymphs. They convinced the sea god Neptune to send Cetus, a nasty sea monster, to destroy the kingdom. To appease the gods, King Cepheus ordered his daughter, the princess Andromeda, chained at the edge of the sea as a sacrifice. But she was rescued by Perseus, who flashed the monstrous head of Medusa at Cetus, turning him to stone. Five of these characters stretch from north to southeast in the evening sky.

November 18: Southern Fish
Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish, is in the south this evening. It contains only one bright star, Fomalhaut, which marks the fish’s mouth. The white star is just 25 light-years from Earth.

November 19: Moon and Saturn
The crescent Moon has a bright companion early this evening -- the planet Saturn. It looks like a fairly bright star to the lower left of the Moon. They are quite low in the sky, so any buildings or trees along the horizon will block them from view.

November 20: Moon at Apogee
The Moon is farthest from Earth for its current orbit today. The Moon’s distance from Earth varies by almost 30,000 miles. At its closest it produces stronger tides; at its farthest, the tides are weaker than average.

November 21: Rho Cassiopeia
Cassiopeia, the queen, whose brightest stars form a letter W, is high in the north-northeast at nightfall. One of its stars, Rho Cassiopeia, is one of the biggest in the galaxy. If it took the Sun’s place, it would extend past the orbit of Mars.

November 22: Pleiades
The Pleiades star cluster marks the shoulder of Taurus, the bull. It is low in the east as darkness falls, above the star Aldebaran, the bull’s orange eye. The cluster’s brightest stars form a tiny dipper. It crosses high overhead around midnight.

November 23: Aurorae
Fall and winter are the best times for viewing the shimmering curtains of light known as aurorae or northern lights. They form when charged particles from the Sun strike atoms of nitrogen and oxygen far above the surface, causing them to glow.

November 24: Capella
Capella, the brightest star of Auriga, the charioteer, is low in the northeast at nightfall. The yellow star arcs high overhead after midnight and is in the northwest at first light. It consists of two stars that are gravitationally bound together.

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