Your Night Sky for Nov. 18, 2020


Andromeda the Princess

Currently the Andromeda constellation is high overhead. Her stars form a skinny "A" shape. She contains 7 stars with the top of her head being the bright star Alpheratz which is a large blue white star that's 97 LY from us. Alpheratz is Arabic that means "the Navel of the Mare."

It not only marks the Princess's head, but it is also one corner of the Great Square of Pegasus. Pegasus is the Winged Horse, and is directly overhead on the SW side of the Milky Way. The Andromeda Galaxy is also part of her, and sits just between her and the Milky Way.

Currently her leg stars point down to the NE horizon. She's next to the Milky Way on its SE side. Amazingly, the stars on her left side are brighter than the stars on her right side. In December, January and February, she will be in the western sky with her head lower in the sky pointing toward the horizon. So for those three months, she'll be upside down.

Currently the Moon forms a triangle with Jupiter and Saturn. They're getting lower in the SW. Since the New Moon was on the Nov. 15, it's still small. It'll be larger on the Nov. 25, and a Full Moon Nov. 30. The first quarter is on the Nov. 25 making it half size. On the Nov. 23 it passes south of Neptune.

My favorite constellation Orion rises in the east now around 9 p.m. It climbs highest 1-2 a.m., and then sits low in the west by 5 a.m. The Aymara people of Bolivia, Peru and Chile called his belt "the Celestial Bridge, because where they look from, his belt sits along the celestial equator. Those 3 stars are very bright and easy to see.

Those 3 stars of his belt are visible worldwide. They rise in the east and set in the west. They also remain in the sky for 12 hours. The western most star of the belt is Mintaka. When those stars are directly overhead, you are at the equator. If it shines in the southern sky, you are north of the equator, and if it shines in the northern sky you are south of the equator. Obviously we're in the north.

 

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