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Andromeda
Mrs Ples.
 Wilderness | What's Up : 

What’s Up? November 2013

Scorpio can be seen setting in the West well below the very bright Venus. And of course as the Scorpion sets, so the mighty hunter, Orion, can be seen rising in the east later on in the evening at around 21h00 (9 pm).

Later on in the evening, around 22h00 the northern sky is truly spectacular for most of the month. Orion is clearly visible low in the northeastern sky. To the left the small open cluster of the Hyades, looking somewhat like a large A is visible, with the red giant star Aldebaran on the lower end of the right leg of the A. Further left is the small bright cluster of isiLimela (Pleiades or the Seven Sisters). Finally further
left, in the north, the Great Square of Pegasus dominates the evening sky and this is probably the best time of the year to see the Andromeda galaxy. If you are away from street and village lights, you might be able to see a small fuzzy patch little to the lower right of the Great Square and to the left of isiLimela. This is the remotest object visible to the naked eye. It is in fact our ‘sister’ galaxy, being a part of what is known as our “local Group”. It is about the same size, possibly a little larger and about 2.3 million light years away. You are looking back in time – the light we are seeing now left Andromeda 2.3 million years ago when Mrs Ples (now master Ples!) was walking on Earth! A pair of binoculars will certainly help, but make sure you have a clear view of an unobstructed and dark northern horizon. All we have now is her/his skull and provides an interesting link between palaeontology and astronomy and there is a full scale exhibition of this in the Visitors centre the Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland, containing over 50 fossils with accompanying astronomical objects.
By the 17th a full Moon joins the party and should give readers a clear indication as to where to look to find things.
Then on the right of Orion there is the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius in the east and higher up in the southeast is the second brightest star in the night sky Canopus. Finally moving to the south we have the Southern Cross and the Pointers, Alpha and Beta Centauri. Away from street and town lights, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are visible, high up directly above the Southern Cross

 
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