What's in the night sky of the week of 21 to 27 November 2022.


Chris Bramley Hello and welcome to Star Diary, the podcast for the makers of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. You can subscribe to the print edition by visiting www.skyatnightmagazine.com Or to a digital edition by visiting 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're based in the UK, all times will be in GMT. In this episode we'll be covering the coming week from 21st to 27th November. I'm Ezzy Pearson, the magazine's features editor, and I'm joined on the podcast today by reviews editor Paul Money. Hello, Paul.

Paul Money Now then Ezzy. I've got to make it for you this week. Morning and evening.

Ezzy So are we starting off in the morning or the evening Paul. What have you got for us?

Paul Well, I'm sorry, but you're going to have to get up for this one. It's 5 a.m. in the morning on 21st November and we find a very slim crescent moon. It's to the upper left of Spica, or Spica, depending on how you want to pronounce it, alpha virgins, as they rise. So they will be rising at that time. They won't be far above the horizon. So you do need a uncluttered east southeast horizon from about 5 AM. And of course, after that, what you'll find is that, I mean, the bright so you'll be able to keep them for a while, even as the sky starts to lighten with morning twilight. But in fact, I think morning twilight always enhances the view of the crescent Moon. It just looks ephemeral and gorgeous in the early morning twilight, I have to say. And Spica is a bright first magnitude star. So, you know, you should be able to follow it well into the morning twilight as well as the Moon as well. So that's a nice start, even if it's an early start to the week, as you say. However, we have a bit of a gap because these things sometimes... The Moon then goes through new, it's new on 23rd. So we have a bit of a gap. If you want there's still the parade of planets in the evening skies, you can still keep following them again around about 6:00, 7:00 in the evening onwards. But the Moon does creep back into the evening sky and we come round to the 25th when the crescent Moon lies below the star Nunki, which is Sigma Sagittarii. You need to be looking south southwest for very low down again, you need... This is one of those way when the moon's like this as a crescent. Whether it's morning sky, the evening sky, it's going to be low. So you do need an uncluttered horizon again, around about 5PM in this case before it actually sets. So it will be visible in twilight. I think binoculars will actually show it a little bit better, bring out the star a bit better for that. Now we've mentioned the actual planetary parade itself and with the Moon out of the way or just this thin crescent for most of the week, very low down and setting easily, this is the time to get out and enjoy the deep sky, you know, because a lot of our events, we concentrate a lot on the planets and quite rightly so. But you know, the night sky is there in all its splendour. 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 and get your autumn skies, your fix of galaxies and nebulae etc. Targets should easily include the Andromeda Galaxy. So that's well up in the south east now. And don't just go for the Andromeda Galaxy. Don't forget there's actually the two companion galaxies as well as I think either side of it Messier 110 and Messier 32. And if you follow the line down through Andromeda and the other way towards the tip of Triangulum, we've got Messier 33 the Triangulum Galaxy. Now they are also considered naked eye so M31 the Andromeda Galaxy, and Messier 32 you need dark skies. I know we do harp on this about it, but you do but you will see a fuzzy blob. And I do like my fuzzy blobs. I'm renowned for enjoying my fuzzy blobs in the night sky. There are other things though. If you want a bit more of a challenge it's quite large, but the Helix Nebula down in Aquarius worth having a look at. And if you're a fan of clusters, well, the autumn... I think autumn or spring are great time for clusters because in actual fact you've got all the clusters along the Milky Way. And don't forget, we've actually still got the vestiges of the summer sky over in the sort of south, west, west southwest. So I think you've actually got Scutum, you've got Aquila rising up and Lyra and Cygnus still fairly high up. Then you arching across... The Milky Way is arching across Cassiopeia and Perseus and Auriga and Taurus. So you've got a whole host of star clusters to enjoy as well so you've got summer, and you got autumn and you've got some winter clusters coming up. And of course, if you want to leave the night as it rolls on, we'll end with the winter sky rising. I mean Orion at around about 6:00, the arm of Orion is just...I think it's the shield just beginning to rise. So give it a few hours you'll have Orion as well, so there is plenty to do. And I mean, let's not forget that with Mars in Taurus, it draws our attention, of course, to the fact that there's the Pleiades or the Hyades and also there's the supernova remnant, Messier 1 in that region as well. So we've got a parade of planets, we've got deep sky targets. And very early on in the twilight, you've actually got the crescent moon as well. If you want the moon to go, but we've got plenty of things to look for in the night sky. There's going to be double stars as well. You've got the Ghost of Almac, that's NGC 404 up in Andromeda. You've got loads of things to actually look at, lots of galaxies, so there is plenty to see. But we mustn't forget the planets such as Jupiter. It dominates at the moment. Again, remember put a telescope on it and you can see the moons going round it and sometimes watch the transits, not just of the Moons, but also actually of the shadows going across it as well. So well worth having a look at the night sky this way because the Moon is out of the way, Ezzy. I mean, if you're lunar astronomers, 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 Yeah, yeah, you can have a rest.

Ezzy You can go have a nap, have a lie in. It's fine. Or an early nights, I suppose. Actually, it would be, wouldn't that.

Paul And of course we've got plenty of things in the magazine. We've got the binocular deep sky tour to play with. So there's always lots to look at in the night sky during this week when the Moon's out of the way, you know, it really is a chance to actually do that. We just have to. The one unpredictable thing, you know, I'm going to say – the weather.

Ezzy Of course.

Paul It's funny, you know, but the number of times the Moon seems to bring along clear skies and we have good skies and we're all going, we need these. When the Moon's out the way, when the Moon's out the way it's cloudy. I suppose this is why... This has driven some of them... like we do in the reviews, it's driven some of the fact that people are now using specialised filters to photograph when the Moon's up because they can still do deep sky, even when the Moon's up something. So I can understand that.

Ezzy But that is that is one of the advantages, I suppose, of deep sky objects, which is when it's their season to be up in the night sky, they're always up in the night sky, you know, you don't have to wait for it to have a chance alignment or for it to come around. So you've got a nice sort of quite long window to be able to get the right conditions, to be able to observe this and just make sure you're paying attention so you can grab the chance whilst it's there.

Paul Yes, because a lot of the times we discussing things like conjunctions with the Moon and planets, sometimes conjunction of a planet with another target, say a star or even a nebula. But you know, the nebula and the galaxies, etc, they all require their own attention. And but the best time is when the Moon's out of the way really to get them. I think the one that doesn't suffer so badly is open clusters because they are merely just dots. It's just the faint clusters tend to suffer when the Moon's up. 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 other week, the Moon next to the Beehive cluster, but it was in the morning's, that was last week, in actual fact. But you know... But it was still visible you know... But full moon, I have that window around about 2 to 3 days either side of full Moon where unless you're into the lunar observing sort of thing, I'm not too worried about looking at the deep sky itself, but once the Moon starts to move out of the way, I start planning my sessions around what time does the Moon rise or what time does it set. I ought to have a clock like that, shouldn't?

Ezzy Yeah. Well, thank you very much for taking the time to tell us about all of those things we can see in this week's night sky Paul. So to recap on 21st November, we've got a slim crescent moon that's going to be next to the star Spica. And then on the 25th, the crescent moon will be back next to Nunki. But it will be a new moon on 23rd November, meaning that this week is a great chance to get to grips with some of your deep sky targets that are going to be up over the course of this month. So be sure to have a look at those and pick up the magazine if you want to have a look and see what ones might be up. So thank you very much for taking the time out of your day to talk to us paul. And if you want to keep up to date with the best things to see in the night sky every week, be sure to subscribe to the Star Diary podcast and we hope to see you here next week. If you want to find out even more spectacular sites that will be gracing the night sky throughout the month. Be sure to pick up a copy of BBC Sky at Night Magazine where we have a 16 page pull out Sky Guide with a full overview of everything worth looking out for. Whether you like to look at the moon, the planets, or the deep sky, whether you use binoculars, telescopes or neither, our sky guide has got you covered with the detailed star charts to help you track 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 Star Diary podcast from the makers of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. For more of our podcasts visit our website at www.skyatnightmagazine.com or head to aCast, iTunes or Spotify.


Elizabeth Pearson
Ezzy PearsonScience journalist

Ezzy Pearson is the Features Editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Her first book about the history of robotic planetary landers is out now from The History Press.