November is the month of the planets. Seven of them making an appearance this month.
Venus will be the brightest of them all, but Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will all be visible to the naked eye and Uranus and Neptune visible with binoculars.
Saturn and Jupiter will be best viewed at around 9pm in the West as they begin to set. Neptune, Mars and Uranus form a slanting line across the sky, with Neptune in the North to Uranus in the North East.
The early mornings are ruled by Venus which can be found pretty close to the moon and will be rising at around 5am, followed shortly by Mercury peeping over the horizon around 5.30am. You will need to see Mercury before the sun rises at around 6am.
If you are observing Mercury, please make sure to take all necessary safety precautions as you do not want to inadvertently see the sun through your binoculars or telescope. You can cause permanent damage to your eyes.
There are a few other amazing things to see in November.
If you have decent binoculars, this is the perfect time to try and see the globular cluster, 47 Tucanae. You will find it near to the Small Magellanic Cloud, almost directly overhead at around 9pm.
It is the second brightest globular cluster after Omega Centauri and contains about 10,000 stars that we can see through a telescope but actually contains millions of stars. For those lucky enough to have good eyesight, you will be able to see it faintly, appearing to be the size of the full moon in the sky.
The Orion nebular is a fantastic nebular to view with binoculars. It will appear to you as a faint wispy cloud between the top two stars of Orion’s sword. Some people call this constellation ‘the pot’.
Just to the left of Orion and slightly closer to the horizon, you will see a bright star. This is Aldebaran – the heart of the bull. The constellation of Taurus is quite easy to make out by finding this star.
Remember to use your phone apps to help you navigate across the sky. For Android use Skymap. For Apple, use Star Walk 2. For your PC, use Stellarium. All are free to use.
These apps help you discover the universe above us. There is so much there to find.