BBC Sky at Night Magazine Star Diary podcast.

Star Diary: November 21-27, 2022

What’s in the night sky for the week of November 21-27, 2022.

Chris Bramley Hello and welcome to Star Diary, the podcast for the creators of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. You can subscribe to the print edition at www.skyatnightmagazine.com or a digital edition on iTunes or Google Play.

Ezzy Pearson Greetings listeners and welcome to Star Diary, a weekly guide to the best things to see in the Northern Hemisphere’s night sky. As we are based in the UK all times are in GMT. In this episode we report on the coming week from November 21st to 27th. I’m Ezzy Pearson, the magazine’s features editor, and I’m joined by review editor Paul Money on today’s podcast. Hello Paul.

Paul money Well then, Ezzy. I have to make it for you this week. morning and evening.

ezzy So we start Paul in the morning or in the evening. what do you have for us

Paul I’m sorry, but you have to get up for that. It’s 5am on November 21st and we find a very thin crescent moon. It’s on the top left of Spica or Spica depending on how you want to pronounce it, Alpha Virgos as they ascend. So you will ascend at that time. You won’t be far over the horizon. So you need a clear east-southeast horizon from around 5 a.m. onwards. And of course what you’ll find after that is that, I mean, the light, so you can keep them for a while even as the sky gets lighter with the dawn. But actually I think dawn always improves the view of the crescent moon. It looks just ephemeral and beautiful in the early dawn, I must say. And Spica is a first magnitude bright star. So you should be able to track it until dawn, as well as the moon. So that’s a nice start, even if it’s an early start to the week as you say. However, we have a little gap, because sometimes these things… The moon then recrosses, it’s new on the 23rd. So we have a little gap. If you like, there is still the planetary parade in the evening sky, you can still follow it around 6:00, 7:00 in the evening. But the moon is creeping back into the evening sky and we come to the 25th when the crescent moon is below the star Nunki, which is Sigma Sagittarii. You have to look south-southwest to get very low again, you have to… It’s one of those ways when the moon is like a crescent moon. Whether it’s the morning sky or the evening sky, it will be low. So you need a cleared horizon again, in this case around 5pm, before it actually sets. So it will be visible at dusk. I think binoculars will actually show it a little bit better, highlighting the star a little bit better in return. Now that we’ve mentioned the actual planetary parade itself, and with the moon out of the way or just that thin crescent for most of the week, very low and setting slightly, this is the time to get out there and enjoy the deep skies, you know , because at many of our events we are very planet focused and rightly so. But you know, the night sky is there in all its glory. When we’ve got the moon out of the way, this is the time to get it. especially these dark nights as such. So this is the time to get out there and your autumn skies, galaxy and nebula fixation, etc. Targets should easily include the Andromeda galaxy. So that’s way up in the southeast now. And don’t just settle for the Andromeda galaxy. Don’t forget that there are actually the two companion galaxies, and on either side of that, I think, Messier 110 and Messier 32. And if you follow the line down through Andromeda and the other way to the top of Triangulum, we have Messier 33 the triangle galaxy. Now they are also viewed with the naked eye, so M31 the Andromeda galaxy, and Messier 32 one needs dark skies. I know we make fun of this, but you do, but you’ll see a blurry blob. And I like my fuzzy blobs. I’ve been known to enjoy my blurry blobs in the night sky. But there are other things. It’s quite large if you’re looking for a little more of a challenge, but the Helix Nebula at the bottom of the Aquarius is worth a look. And if you’re a fan of star clusters, well, fall… I think fall or spring is a great time for star clusters because you actually have all the star clusters along the Milky Way. And don’t forget, we actually still have the remnants of the summer sky over there in a south-west, west-southwest fashion. So I think you actually have Scutum, you have Aquila ascending and Lyra and Cygnus still pretty high up. Then you arch over… The Milky Way arches over Cassiopeia and Perseus and Auriga and Taurus. So you have a whole bunch of star clusters to enjoy as well, so you have summer and you have fall and there are some winter clusters coming. And of course, if you want to leave the night as it rolls on, we end with the winter sky rising. I mean, Orion around 6:00, the arm of Orion is just… I think it’s the shield that’s just starting to rise. So give yourself a few hours and you’ve got Orion too, so there’s plenty to do. And I mean let’s not forget that Mars in Taurus naturally draws our attention to the fact that there is the Pleiades or the Hyades and also the supernova remnant Messier 1 in this region. So we have a parade of planets, we have deep sky targets. And very early in the twilight you even have the crescent moon. If you want the moon to go away, but we have a lot of things to look for in the night sky. There will also be double stars. They have the spirit of Almac, that’s NGC 404 up in Andromeda. There’s a lot of things to see, a lot of galaxies, so there’s a lot to see. But we must not forget the planets like Jupiter. It’s dominant at the moment. Again, consider putting a telescope on it and you can see the moons orbiting it and sometimes observe the transits, not only of the moons but the shadows that pass over them. So it’s worth looking at the night sky this way because the moon isn’t in the way, Ezzy. I mean, if you’re a lunar astronomer, of course you hate it, but this is the time for deep sky.

ezzy If you’re a lunar astronomer, it’s your week off like…

Paul Yes, yes, you can rest.

ezzy You can take a nap, rest. It’s good. Or an early night I think. Actually it would be, wouldn’t it?

Paul And of course we have a lot in the magazine. We have the binocular deep sky tour that we can play with. So there’s always a lot to see in the night sky this week when the moon’s out of the way, you know, it’s really a chance to actually do that. We just have to. The only unpredictable thing, you know, I’ll say – the weather.

ezzy Of course.

Paul It’s funny, you know, but how many times the moon seems to bring clear skies and we have good skies and we all go we need these. When the moon is out of the way, when the moon is out of the way, it’s cloudy. I suppose that’s why… That’s what drove some of them… as we do in the reviews, it’s driven some by the fact that people are now using special filters to photograph when the moon is out rises because they can still do deep sky even if the moon is a little still. So I can understand that.

ezzy But that’s, I suppose, one of the advantages of deep sky objects, because when it’s their season to be in the night sky, they’re always up in the night sky, you know, you don’t have to wait until there’s one has random orientation or turns around. So you have quite a long window to find the right conditions, watch this, and just make sure you’re paying attention so you can take a chance while it’s there.

Paul Yes, because often we discuss things like conjunctions with the moon and planets, sometimes conjunctions of a planet with another target, say a star or even a nebula. But you know, the nebula and the galaxies and so on, they all require their own attention. And but the best time is when the moon is really out of the way to get them. I think the one that doesn’t suffer as much is open clusters because they’re just dots. It’s only the faint star clusters that suffer at moonrise. So this is the ideal time to see the clusters in all their glory. But at least you can follow them often. I mean, we mentioned the moon next to the Beehive cluster last week, but it was actually in the morning, that was last week. But you know… But it was still visible, you know… But full moon, I have that window about 2 to 3 days either side of the full moon where it, if you’re not into lunar observations, I’m doing I don’t worry too much about looking at the deep sky itself, but as soon as the moon starts to move out of the way, I start scheduling my sessions around the time the moon rises or when it sets. I should have a watch like that, right?

ezzy Yes. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about all the things we can see in the night sky this week, Paul. To recap November 21, we have a narrow crescent moon that will be next to the star Spica. And then, on the 25th, the crescent moon will be next to Nunki again. But November 23rd is the new moon, which means this week is a great opportunity to engage with some of your deep sky targets that will be popping up later this month. So be sure to check these out and get the magazine if you want a glimpse of what might be out there. Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Paul. And if you want to be kept up to date on the best things to see in the night sky each week, be sure to subscribe to the Star Diary podcast and we hope to see you here next week. If you want to discover even more spectacular locations that will grace the night sky throughout the month. Be sure to grab a copy of the BBC Sky at Night Magazine, where we have a 16-page pull-out Sky Guide with a full rundown of everything to look out for. Whether you enjoy gazing at the moon, the planets, or the deep skies, whether you use binoculars, a telescope, or neither, our sky guide has you covered with the detailed star maps to help you trace your way across the night sky from all of us here at BBC Sky and Night Magazine. Goodbye.

Chris Bramley Thank you for listening to this episode of the Star Diary podcast from the creators of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. You can find more of our podcasts on our website at www.skyatnightmagazine.com or on aCast, iTunes or Spotify.

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