Sky Events That Will Light Up The Night This Week

This week, adventure seekers will have four separate reasons to gaze up at the sky. Catch the eclipse of Jupiter’s moons or witness the Andromeda galaxy; it’s not too late, even if you missed the peak of the Leonid meteor shower yesterday.

Moon and Spica
Tomorrow on Wednesday, November 19th, look for the crescent moon in the low southeastern sky during the early hours of the morning. At around dawn, find it less than four degrees from Spica, – the brightest star (known as “the maiden”) in the constellation Virgo, and the 15th brightest star in the night sky.

Moon And Mercury
On Friday, November 21st, the moon will appear as a thin crescent sliver, near Mercury. A pair of binoculars will come in handy for the occasion, especially since the Moon and Mercury will be less than 10 degrees above the southeast horizon.

Andromeda Galaxy
The Andromeda Galaxy is the most distant, visible object that can be seen by the naked eye. By November 22, the new moon will bring dark skies, so look for Cassiopeia, “the queen.” The lopsided W- shaped constellation can be seen by facing the northeast autumn evening sky. It will point directly at Andromeda, and will be separated by about 15-degrees.

Using binoculars, Andromeda is visible anywhere across the Northern Hemisphere – even within city limits. It should appear as a faint, fuzzy patch in the sky. This “patch”, however, boasts at least 300 billion suns, and is about three times the size of the Milky Way. Amazingly, the island of stars is about 2.6 million light-years away. Thus, when viewers look up at the sky on Saturday, they are actually observing the galaxy as it first appeared during the era of saber-toothed tigers.

Jovian Moon Eclipse
Last, but not least, on Sunday, November 23, early risers will have the chance to witness the eclipse of two of Jupiter’s moons. Starting at 2:16 a.m. EST, the moon Io will cover moon Europa for a few minutes. Look for the planet in the southeast, next to Regulus – the bright star of the Leo constellation. The event will occur just off of Jupiter’s eastern limb.