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What's in the Sky - November 2021

Clear November night skies offer incredible celestial sights for stargazers to be thankful for, so bundle up and get outside for stargazing fun!

Partial Lunar Eclipse
The early morning of November 19th is a prime time for viewing a partial lunar eclipse! This eclipse will be fully visible from the Americas, Asia, and Australia. At maximum eclipse the moon will be 97% in shadow, occurring at 01:04 PT on 11/19. The moon will be in umbral shadow for more than 3 hours, beginning at 23:20 PT on 11/18, and ending at 02:48 PT on 11/19.

The Pleiades
November is sometimes called "the month of the Pleiades," since the star cluster is visible all night long for observers in the Northern hemisphere. From a dark sky site, M45 is easy to see with the unaided eye and resembles a small "teaspoon" pattern in the sky. Use astronomy binoculars for immersive views of this open star cluster, or use a telescope with a lower-power eyepiece for a closer look at the Seven Sisters.

New Moon
November 4th will be the best time of the month to observe the fainter deep-sky objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

Leonids Meteor Shower
Bundle up and get outside after midnight on November 17th to see the peak of the Leonids meteor shower as "shooting stars" appear to radiate outwards from the constellation Leo. Meteor showers are usually best viewed without optical equipment, but for a closer look try out some Ultra Wide Angle Binoculars. The shower peaks close to full moon this year, which may cut down on the number of meteors visible. Estimated peak rate is approximately 14 meteors per hour.

Double Cluster in Perseus
Use a pair of big binoculars or a shorter focal length telescope with a wide-field eyepiece in November to seek out the sparkling Double Cluster in Perseus - two side by side open star clusters NGC 884 and NGC 869.

All objects described above can easily be seen with the suggested equipment from a dark sky site, a viewing location some distance away from city lights where light pollution and when bright moonlight does not overpower the stars.