Stargazing from October to November

how to learn stargazing

October and November offer very beautiful views of the sky. Here are eight wonders to discover at this time of year.
Click on your location: Northern hemisphere | Southern hemisphere

Northern hemisphere

Star map from October to November in the Northern hemisphere

Stargazing in October and November in the northern hemisphere

1) Andromeda Galaxy (M31)

Observation hours: all night.

For observers of the northern hemisphere, this galaxy is ideally positioned in autumn, high in the sky towards the north. Its central bulb is visible with binoculars or a small telescope. With a large telescope, you can see its main ring of dust. To find it, you need to locate Beta Andromedae (Mirach). From there, join Mu Andromedae and continue for the same distance.

andromeda galaxy

2) Veil Nebula

Observation hours: all night.

The Veil Nebula shines due to the radiation emitted by interstellar dust. Using the telescope, locate Epsilon Cygni, move 4 degrees south to the star 52 Cygni. This one seems attached to the western part of the Veil Nebula. A few degrees to the east is the “large nebula”.

veil nebula

3) M74 Galaxy

Observation hours: around midnight.

M74 is a galaxy located 32 million light years away. M74 is found in the Pisces constellation. However, to locate it, it is more useful to rely on the two brightest stars in the Aries constellation (Ram). From Hamal (Alpha Arietis), move to Sheratan (Beta Arietis), then continue twice this distance to Êta Piscium. M74 is located 1 degree south of this line.

m74 galaxy

4) M2 globular cluster

Observation hours: all night.

With a diameter of 175 light years, M2 is one of the largest globular clusters. It can be seen with the naked eye, but you can see it much better with binoculars or a small telescope. M2 is located in the Aquarius constellation. It is located about 5 degrees north of the double star Beta Aquarii (Sadalsuud).

m2 globular cluster

Southern hemisphere

Star map from October to November in the Southern hemisphere

Stargazing in October and November in the southern hemisphere

1) Orionids

Observation hours: in October, before dawn.

This meteor shower that occurs annually is clearly visible shortly before dawn. The meteors seem to come from the Orion constellation.


2) M79 globular cluster

Observation hours: after midnight.

Located more than 40,000 light years away, the M79 globular cluster is a curious celestial object. It would have been sucked in by the gravitational pull of the Milky Way from the dwarf Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy. It is located in the Lepus constellation, an unusual place for a globular cluster. Locate Beta Leporis (Nihal) then move 4 degrees south to see this wonder.

m79 globular cluster

3) Mercury

Observation hours: all night.

The position of Mercury in its orbit at this time of the year makes it easier to observe. To see it, look west above the horizon at dusk, while bearing in mind that, for a non-expert observer, Mercury looks like a star.

mercury planet

4) Skull Nebula (NGC 246)

Observation hours: around midnight.

This asymmetric planetary nebula is located 1600 light years from Earth. In the Cetus constellation (The Whale), locate Phi1 and Phi2 (between Eta Ceti and Iota Ceti). Draw a line between these two stars. From its center, split the line between them in half. Move 1 degree south.

ngc 246 skull nebula

Image credits

  • Andromeda Galaxy (M31): Adam Evans / CC BY (
  • Veil Nebula: David Chifiriuc / CC BY-SA (
  • M74 Galaxy: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Acknowledgment: R. Chandar (University of Toledo) and J. Miller (University of Michigan) / Public domain
  • M2 globular cluster: ESA/Hubble / CC BY (
  • Orionids: Brocken Inaglory / CC BY-SA (
  • M79 globular cluster: ESA/Hubble / CC BY (
  • Mercury: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington / Public domain
  • Skull Nebula (NGC 246): Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona / CC BY-SA 3.0 US (