November has the reputation of being the darkest month of the year. And it's no accident that it's not even light for ten hours at the beginning of the month - and the length of the day continues to shrink dramatically. At the end of November, there are just eight and a half hours of daylight left. However, (amateur) astronomers now have more than enough time to observe "their" stars. Starting from half past six o'clock in the evening it is dark enough at beginning of the month to regard the sparkling star sea over our heads extensively.
As every month, our Sky Guide will also tell you in November 2021 how the stars (and other celestial phenomena) stand. We have summarized the highlights for you:
Almost all constellations to see
Almost all constellations of the zodiac pass you in the long November nights: shortly after sunset is already deep in the west Sagittarius, followed by Capricorn with its double stars and Aquarius. Around ten o'clock, you'll find Pisces high in the south, with Aries next to it. Especially worth seeing in southern Pisces: Formalhaut. This huge star is one of the 20 brightest stars ever to be seen in our sky. A little further in the east at this time are Taurus (with the Pleiades) and Gemini.
At about one o'clock the winter hexagon dominates the entire eastern sky and sky hunter Orion with its prominent belt stars announces the approaching winter. In the second night half then also cancer and lion appear in the east - and even virgin (actually already again a spring constellation) creates it still to peep shortly before the setting dawn over the eastern horizon.
Sparkling fireworks: Leonids illuminate dark autumn nights
A heavenly firework may expect romantics in November: Equally three shooting star streams are active over the whole month. Now at the beginning the Orionids and Taurids are active. The latter do not send particularly many falling stars, only approximately 5 pieces per hour, but the Taurids are well-known for their particularly large, very worth seeing and bright falling stars, Boliden called.
When between the 7th and 10th November first the Leonids and then the Taurids also already again disappear, the sky stage is free for the Leonids. Beside the Perseids in August the Leonids are perhaps the most beautiful shooting star shower of the year. Although no special Leonid fireworks are predicted this year, you can still expect 10 to 20 shooting stars per hour. The best time is after midnight - by the way, the maximum of the Leonids is from November 17 to 18.
Mark you however already once the November 2022: Then more than 200 shooting stars per hour could be seen. The Leonids are nothing else than fragments of the comet Temple-Tuttle - and this comet crosses next year again our solar system.
Planet highlight Jupiter
The planetary round in the November sky opens Venus. It can be seen just above the southwest horizon at dusk and shines brighter and brighter as the month progresses. Around 19:00 o'clock it is replaced by Jupiter and Saturn. The two mighty gas giants dominate the first half of the night in the southwest. The planetary duo is easy to distinguish: The brighter, larger point of light is Jupiter, a good handbreadth to its right is the fainter Saturn.
A particularly beautiful sight grants us Jupiter: Four of its moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Kallisto, are to be recognized already with a binocular clearly. The moons stand by the way each night in another constellation!
Mercury once again briefly to see
In the dawn of the first November week Mercury gives once again a short guest performance. Attentive observers could make him out already in October in the morning eastern sky. The narrow crescent of the waning moon helps you to find Mercury: This is just a bit above the small glistening point of light in the eastern sky. From November 7, however, the closest planet to the sun in our solar system retreats and remains hidden from our gaze.
Best time of the year for Uranus
But Uranus gets his appearance: As a greenish shimmering marble, the distant ice giant is particularly good in the night from 4 to 5 November through a telescope to observe. Because then it stands in opposition to the sun and the whole night over the horizon. The best time of the year, Uranus to observe!
And now it's time for you to head for the stars. You can find your detailed itinerary in our Sky Guide.