Find your way around the night sky! Below is a free sky map for NOVEMBER 2015 as well as a printable version, courtesy of astronomer Jeff DeTray.
Sky Map for NOVEMBER 2015
Each month, Jeff DeTray’s Sky Maps provides a sky map which highlights beautiful events in the evening sky—stars, constellations, planets, conjunctions with the Moon, meteor showers, and other amazing celestial objects. Follow more of Jeff’s sky adventures at AstronomyBoy.com.
Click-and-Print Sky Map
Just click here or on the image below to open the printable map—then bring outside!
Sky Map Highlights: November 2015
Sail the Celestial Sea
On November evenings, the southern sky is filled with constellations related to water. These astronomical ships of the Celestial Sea contain few bright stars and are less well known than more brilliant groupings. You can enjoy the watery constellations of November best in a location far from city lights.
Our sea cruise starts the Great Square of Pegasus, high in the south. Just below it is an asterism known as the Circlet, a slightly lopsided circle of stars that forms the head of one of the two fish of Pisces, the Fishes. From the Circlet, follow a long, gentle arc of stars leftward to the point where it meets another long line of stars angling down from above. The arc and line represent the bodies of the two fishes. The point where they meet is where the fishes’ tails touch and is known as the “V” of Pisces.
The “V” of Pisces points toward the heart of Cetus, the Sea Monster (or Whale). On the left, another lopsided circle of stars forms the head of Cetus. The star Menkar (“nostril”) is one of two bright stars in Cetus. The other is Deneb Kaitos in the Sea Monster’s tail. In Arabic, Deneb means “tail,” and Kaitos, “southern.” Thus, Deneb Kaitos is the “southern tail” of Cetus.
Below and far to the left of Cetus, glimpse a portion of Eridanus, the River, a long, winding constellation that meanders upward in an arc nearly to Cetus and flows downward to disappear below the horizon. This star pattern, named in ancient times, represents what we now know as northern Italy’s Po River.
Jump back to the Circlet of Pisces. Look below and to the right to find Aquarius, the Water Carrier. Some constellations resemble their namesakes—Aquarius is not among them! You’ll just have to trust the ancients who perceived the sprinkling of stars circled in green as a stream of water pouring from a jar carried by Aquarius. The ancient Arabs associated the stars of Aquarius with good luck. The Arabic meanings of Sadachbia, Sadalmelik, and Sadalsuud refer to good fortune.
Below Aquarius is the compact “boat”-shape outline of Capricornus, the Sea-Goat, a creature that is half fish and half goat. Remember the word Deneb? It is also the name of the brightest star in Capricornus: Deneb Algedi, or “tail of the goat.” Stars with Deneb in their names can be found throughout the sky wherever celestial creatures were named by ancient Arabic astronomers.
We come now to Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish, just to the left of Capricornus. Piscis Austrinus represents a single fish, not a pair like Pisces. In an otherwise faint constellation, the bright star Fomalhaut stands out; it is the 18th brightest star in the sky! Due to its location, some myths tell of Piscis Austrinus swallowing the water pouring out of Aquarius’s jar.
Finally, look way up to the right of Pegasus to find little Delphinus, the Dolphin. Ancient legends of dolphins saving sailors lost at sea inspired the creation of this tiny constellation. When you have clear skies above, be sure to take a sea voyage through the November sky.
November 2015 Sky Map
Click here or on image below to enlarge (PDF)
Sky map produced using Chris Marriott’s Skymap Pro
See our Sky Watch page for more highlights of the monthly sky, courtesy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.