Skywatch: Look for the "Seven Sisters" this week


As we move into the last week of November, the moon will brighten throughout the week. The First Quarter Moon will occur Sunday afternoon at 12:03 which is a half-moon that will hang brightly on Sunday night provided the cloud cover doesn't spoil the show.

One constellation that’s been prominent throughout the month of November and will continue to play a role in the December sky isn’t technically a constellation, it’s a star cluster. Pleiades is one of the most recognized groups of stars in the night sky. It can be seen just about anywhere in the world and has meaning in many different cultures. The cluster is also called the Seven Sisters, named for the daughters of Atlas, a titan, and Pleione, a nymph. Most people only see six of the seven sisters while others, with good eyesight, see many more. Regardless of how many you see, you can find the famous cluster in the east during the evening.

On Tuesday night, look for a dance of planets in the evening sky. Mercury and Saturn will be in conjunction passing very close to each other shortly after sunset. This will be the first of what’s known as a “triple conjunction.” The planets will make two more close passes in the coming months. The next will be on December 6 and the third will happen on January 13, 2018. To see Tuesday’s conjunction, look low in the southwestern sky after sunset. The two will look like stars shining brightly near the horizon. Saturn will sit above and right of Mercury. If you miss the two Tuesday night, they'll remain in the southwest after sunset, and close to each other, throughout the week. Happy hunting!