Weekly Stargazing Tips

Provided by StarDate.org. Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii).

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.

November 25: First-Quarter Moon

The Moon reaches its first-quarter phase at 11:03 a.m. CST today, so sunlight will illuminate half of the hemisphere that faces Earth. The “first-quarter” name indicates that the Moon is one quarter of the way through its month-long cycle of phases.

November 26: Conspicuous Orion

Orion climbs into view in the east by 8 or 9 p.m. Look for its belt, which is a short line of three bright stars standing almost straight up from the horizon, with a bright orange star to its left and a blue-white star to the right.

November 27: Pisces

The constellation Pisces passes across the south this evening. It consists of two delicate streamers of stars that join to form a V. The point of the V is sometimes called the Heavenly Knot. Star lore says it ties two fish together by their tails.

November 28: Evening Stars

Myriad bright stars twinkle across the sky early this evening. In the west, look for the stars of the Summer Triangle, Vega, Deneb, and Altair. Fomalhaut is low in the south, and yellow-orange Capella is low in the northeast.

November 29: Cassiopeia Clock

Cassiopeia the queen is one of the most prominent star patterns of autumn and early winter. The W- or M-shaped constellation circles the North Star like the hand of a clock, though in a counter-clockwise direction.