November 14, 2007

November's Naked Eye Northern Hemisphere Objects

November has quite a few interesting stars that are visible in the Northern Hemisphere. Check these stars out if you find yourself being new to astronomy and without any "expensive gear":

  • Altair - This is the brightest star in the constellation of Aquila, the eagle. The name Altair literally means "the flying eagle" in Arabic. It is also the apex of the Summer Triangle.

  • Capella - This is the brightest star in the constellation of Auriga. It appears yellowish in color and is a spectroscopic binary.

  • Deneb - This is the brightest star in Cygnus, the swan. This star is one of the most luminous stars known. It is a blue supergiant.

  • Vega - This is the fifth brightest star in the sky and is of the blue-white variety. It is actually the second brightest star in the Northern Hemipshere. It is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra.

  • Algol - This is the brighest star in the constellation Perseus. It means "the ghoul" in Arabic and represented the head of the Gorgon, Medusa. It is actually located quite close at the present time to Comet 17P/Holmes. This binary star flucuates magnitude frequently.

  • Fomalhaut - This is a young star that is the head of the fish constellation, Piscus Austrinus.

  • Pleiades - This open cluster is easily visible to the eye in the Taurus constellation. Binoculars reveal many more than the seven obvious stars in this cluster. This cluster resembles a tiny "dipper" like the Ursa constellations.

  • Hyades - This is an easily visible open cluster noticed but never catalogued by Messier. Shaped like a triangle, it is very easy to locate using sky maps.

  • Aldebaran - This is a red giant, and has the Alpha designation, in the constellation Taurus. It is one of the brighest stars in the night sky. It appears to be a part of the Hyades open cluster, but it is just merely in the line of sight.

  • Polaris - The northen star, this is the brightest star that is closest to the celestial north pole. This keeps it position relatively uniform. It is the brightest star in Ursa Minor.

Check out the Sky Maps link in our links section. It points directly to some high quality maps that make locating all of these objects very easy.