Astronomy Guide November 2023

Dear Stargazer Friends,

I hope you have been well. Venus and Jupiter will remain the highlights in the night sky this month. The Taurid and Leonid meteor showers are also something to look forward to this month – as always weather permitting.

In my November 2023 Astronomy Guide I share with you some impressions from my trip to La Palma last month. It was an impressive stay there and I enjoyed every moment. People there are proud of their beautiful island, they take good care of it – I saw almost no littering along the roads – and their excellent night sky is protected by law. It’s a stargazer’s and nature lovers paradise.

Thanks for your interest. As always, enjoy the journey & clear skies.

Best wishes,

Topic of the Month: From my journey to La Palma – La Isla Bonita 

Last month, I visited La Palma, the most northwesterly island of the Canary Islands, Spain, located in the Atlantic Ocean. Before going into details of my trip to its highest mountain, the Roque de los Muchachos (2’426 m or 7’959 ft), here some information on climate, geology and geography of the island. You’ll find a detailed map of the island here.

La Palma offers a diverse range of geological, geographical, climatic, and ecological features that make it a captivating destination for nature enthusiasts and stargazers. It is a volcanic island formed through volcanic eruptions over millions of years – the last one dating back to as recently as 2021, when the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge in the southern half of the island erupted between 19 September and 13 December 2021.

New volcano at the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge. Its name is still a matter of debate – © picture by Isabel Streit 2023
Detail of the new volcano – © picture by Isabel Streit 2023

The island’s geology is characterized by steep cliffs, rugged terrain, and volcanic craters – the terrain is sometimes so steep, I needed an another, stronger rental car on the second day of my stay. La Palma offers a wide range of landscapes, from lush forests in the north to arid volcanic expanses in the south. It has a mild, subtropical climate. The north and west sides of the island receive more rainfall, resulting in lush vegetation, while the south and east are drier. Fauna and Flora are diverse, with unique species, such as the giant lizard (Gallotia simonyi). In the higher elevations and within the Caldera de Taburiente, there is a beautiful laurel forest, a relic of the Tertiary Period and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

All Canary Islands are famous for their excellent astronomical quality of the sky – protected by law!

During my visit, I booked a guided tour at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM). At ORM, on the rim of the Taburiente National Park, stands one of the largest arrays of telescopes in the world. Because of the excellent sky above La Palma, the observatory has exceptional conditions for astronomical research.

View over the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory from the Mirador Del Espigón Del Roque – © picture by Isabel Streit 2023

Together with the Observatorio del Teide (OT) on Tenerife, ORM is part of the Observatorios de Canarias (OOCC). Jointly, they contain the telescopes and instruments of around 60 institutions from over 20 countries – with optical and infrared astrophysics. The ORM site in La Palma currently (information from 2021) hosts the largest optical-infrared telescope in the world, along with 20 other telescopes and instruments for studies such as nocturnal observations, robotic observing, solar physics, and high energy astrophysics.

The site also hosts the twin telescopes MAGIC I and MAGIC II (MAGIC = Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov Telescope), with a reflector diameter of 17 meters each. They are being operated at night and can detect very high energy gamma rays. High energy gamma rays can only be observed indirectly because the absorption process in the atmosphere proceeds by creation of a shower of high-energy secondary particles. Charged particles in the shower emit light, so called Cherenkov radiation. A Cherenkov telescope is sufficiently sensitive to observe this light on the surface of the earth. MAGIC I and MAGIC II measure these high-energy gamma rays from our Milky Way and distant galaxies, helping astrophysicists to advance in their studies of stellar explosions, pulsars, black holes and gamma-ray bursts.

Halo around the Sun – MAGIC I and MAGIC II Telescopes and a prototype Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov Telescope, Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, 3.10.2023 – © picture by Isabel Streit 2023

As you can see on the picture above, there is a third Cherenkov Telescope (called Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA)), the Large-Sized Telescope LST-1. It is a prototype that was inaugurated in 2018. The parabolic reflective surface is of 23 meters in diameter. It is 45 meters tall and weighs about 100 tons but is able to re-position within 20 seconds to capture brief, low-energy gamma-ray signals.

CTA is a global initiative with about 120 telescopes on two sites: one in the northern hemisphere at Roque de los Muchachos and the other in the southern hemisphere near the existing European Southern Observatory site at Paranal, Chile. During my visit at ORM I had the chance to see the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC). It is a reflecting telescope. The primary mirror is made up of 36 hexagonal segments, which, when put together, have a light-collecting surface of 75.7 m2, equivalent in size to a single, circular mirror with a diameter of 10.4 meters. The First Light Ceremony was celebrated on 14th July, 2007. Scientific production of the telescope started in March 2009 with the first science instrument OSIRIS.

Dome of the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC) – © picture by Isabel Streit 2023
View from inside the dome Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC) – © picture by Isabel Streit 2023

Don’t forget to visit the Roque de los Muchachos Visitor Centre and discover the entrails of the telescopes, delve into the depths of the cosmos with modern, interactive technology.

Exposition at the Roque de los Muchachos Visitor Centre – © picture by Isabel Streit 2023
The Solar System explained at the Roque de los Muchachos Visitor Centre – © picture by Isabel Streit 2023

I highly recommend visiting La Palma, also called La Isla Bonita, with untouched nature away from mass tourism. It’s also safe to visit alone, crime is low. If you are planning to visit the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, take into consideration enough time for the drive up there. Roads are generally well built but narrow, tight curved.

For astrophotography, beware that access to the observatory is closed starting 8 p.m. but you can drive sufficiently close. Don’t use full beam and in general: use as little light as possible. If you need light, best take a red headlamp. And enjoy the stars! In my case, I had the bad luck to visit during a meteorological phenomenon called “Calima” that occurs when fine sand and dust particles from the Sahara Desert are lifted into the atmosphere and transported by wind.

Sky at dawn over Santa Cruz de la Palma © picture by Isabel Streit 2023

I recommend visiting the whole island. If in the west where the volcano broke out in 2021, support local businesses and communities by visiting museums, eating out and buying locally. Areas most hit are El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte. The courage and optimism of people living there are impressive and a true inspiration.

Make a stop at The Caños de Fuego (Fire ducts) Volcanic Caves Interpretation Center. It was created as a result of the discovery of a system of volcanic tubes in the Las Manchas area, formed by the solidification of lava emerging from the eruption of the San Juan Volcano in 1949. The centre aims to teach its visitors about the geological formations that develop during and after volcanic eruptions. Across the road, find a magnificent floating walkway that leads to the floating glass viewpoint and a view over the Cueva de Las Palomas Volcanic Tube. Access to this tube is currently not possible due to the new volcanic eruption in 2021 which also covered this area with a thick layer of volcanic ashes.

Floating walkway leading to the Cueva de Las Palomas Volcanic Tube, currently not accessible because of ashes from the latest volcanic outbreak in 2021 © picture by Isabel Streit 2023

The capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma on the east coast of the island is well worth a visit. Santa Cruz de la Palma (Spanish for Holy Cross of La Palma) is a city and a municipality on the east coast of the island of La Palma in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife of the Canary Islands. Santa Cruz de la Palma old town with its cobblestone streets, colonial-style buildings with wooden balconies is also worth a visit. The fish at the Restaurante La Chalana is fresh, local and excellent! The tapas choices very nice as well.

Even by car, you’ll have to walk uphill/downhill a lot to get to see the best places and have the best views, so don’t forget your hiking shoes, and always take enough water with you.

Sources and further reading:

Moon phases November

Times for Bern, Switzerland (CEST/CET)

Third Quarter05 November, 09:36
New Moon13 November, 10:27
First Quarter20 November, 11:49
Full Moon27 November, 10:16


Mercury won’t be observable until mid-March 2024 when it will reappear in the sky at dusk (W).

Venus will remain visible in the early mornings before sunrise until early February 2024. It will rise a bit later each day. Starting 3 November, it will appear in the constellation of Libra. On 9 November, the Waning Crescent Moon and Venus will be at conjunction. Later that day, between 10:00 and 12:00 h in the morning, the Moon will pass in front of Venus, creating a lunar occultation. The occultation will be visible from Europe, western Russia, Greenland, Africa and Asia.

Mars is currently not visible. It will be at solar conjunction on 18 November 2023. At around this time, Mars will be at its most distant from Earth (2.53 AU) since the two planets will lie on opposite sides of the solar system. “It is during this period that … the received signal strength is at its weakest level.” “During the periods around superior conjunctions, direct communication with Mars is expected to deteriorate as the angle of the signal source relative to the center of the Sun decreases.” For further reading on how NASA’s mission controllers respond in such cases,  visit NASA’s website.

Jupiter is still in the constellation of Aries and will be visible all night. It will reach its brightest magnitude in 2023 (-2.9 m), shining as the 4th brightest object in the sky after the sun, the Moon and Venus. It will reach opposition on the night of 2-3 November 2023. It will be closest to Earth on 1-2 November (4 AU, or 370 million miles/595 million km).

Saturn still appears in the constellation of Aquarius. It will continue to rise earlier each day and therefore set earlier. On 1st of November, it will set at 00:53 a.m., on 30 November already at 22:59 p.m. Magnitude will decrease slightly from 0.8 to 0.9.

Uranus remains visible all month in the constellation of Aries. It will rise earlier as the month progresses.

Neptune is currently in the constellation of Pisces and can be observed all month (first part of the night). Starting 28 November, it will appear in the constellation of Aquarius.


Phenomena not to miss in November

Meteor Showers

Southern Taurids 28 September – 2 December 2023Peak 4-5 November. The Moon will be 54% full. Parent Object: 2P/Encke
Northern Taurids 13 October – 2 December 2023Peak 11-12 November. Moon will be 2% full. Parent Object: 2P/Encke
Leonids 3 November – 2 December 2023Peak on 17-18 November. Moon 23% full. Parent Object is 55P/Tempel-Tuttle

Source: American Meteor Society, Meteor Shower Calendar 2022-2023

0306:00Jupiter at Opposition
03eveningPollux N of Waning Gibbous Moon
04-05 S Taurid Meteor Shower
0909:28Venus 1.0°S of Moon: Occn.
1105:09Spica 2.4°S of Moon
11-1200N Taurid Meteor Shower
13 Uranus at Opposition
18 Mars in Conjunction with Sun
17-18 Leonid Meteor Shower
2014:02Saturn 2.7°N of Moon
25EveningJupiter S of Moon
27Around midnightPleiades 1.1°N of Moon
28 Venus at Perihelion


  • In the
  • Kosmos Himmels-Jahr 2023, Hans-Ulrich Keller, Franck-Kosmos Verlags GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, 2022.
  • Sky Event Almanacs Courtesy of Fred Espenak”


All charts for 15 November 2023 at around midnight, location Bern, Switzerland. Source:


C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)11.4921h48m3h19m+35°29’34.02″8h51m
P/2010 H2 (Vales)14.0820h34m5h18m+73°46’42.80″14h02m

Bright stars

Cor Caroli2.8523h51m9h50m+81°13’32.69″19h49m
γ Per2.9023h58m+83°19’22.13″
ε Per2.9014h21m0h51m+83°07’57.16″11h20m
ψ UMa3.008h03m+87°23’02.27″

Open Star Clusters

Cr 367.0017h07m0h04m+54°57’12.35″7h01m
Tr 37.000h05m+73°36’48.06″
Cr 39 (α Per Cluster)1.200h19m+88°03’55.52″
NGC 1342 (Little Scorpion Cluster)6.7014h35m0h24m+80°30’45.92″10h14m
M 45 (Pleiades)1.2016h39m0h40m+67°14’59.31″8h40m
NGC 14446.600h42m+84°14’13.36″
NGC 1502 (Jolly Roger Cluster)6.901h01m+74°33’25.77″
NGC 1528 (m & m Double Cluster)6.401h08m+85°40’27.68″
NGC 1545 (m & m Double Cluster)6.201h14m+86°38’19.60″
C 41 (Hyades)0.5018h04m1h20m+58°58’56.54″8h36m
NGC 15827.001h25m+86°56’54.25″
NGC 1647 (Pirate Moon Cluster)6.4018h06m1h39m+62°13’09.24″9h11m
NGC 16626.4018h49m1h41m+54°02’35.54″8h34m
NGC 17466.1017h59m1h57m+66°51’45.31″9h55m
NGC 1807 (Poor Man’s Double Cluster)7.0018h45m2h04m+59°36’48.16″9h23m
NGC 18577.0015h57m2h13m+82°22’04.40″12h29m
Cr 624.2015h26m2h16m+84°04’32.54″13h05m
Cr 4644.202h16m+63°55’58.74″
Cr 653.0019h03m2h18m+58°47’00.00″9h33m
M 38 (Starfish Cluster)6.4016h51m2h22m+78°55’44.98″11h53m
Cr 69 (Orion Cluster)2.8019h40m2h28m+53°01’16.41″9h16m
Cr 70 (Orion Belt Cluster)0.6020h29m2h28m+42°00’09.85″8h28m
NGC 1980 (The Lost Jewel of Orion)2.5020h49m2h28m+37°10’28.76″8h07m
NGC 1981 (Coal Car Cluster)4.2020h42m2h28m+38°39’23.97″8h13m
M 36 (Pinwheel Cluster)6.0017h16m2h29m+77°12’37.32″11h43m
M 37 (January Salt-and-Pepper Cluster)5.6017h46m2h45m+75°36’52.45″11h45m
NGC 21296.7018h59m2h54m+66°22’54.33″10h49m
NGC 2169 (The 37 Cluster)5.9019h55m3h01m+57°02’57.13″10h08m
M 35 (Shoe-Buckle Cluster)5.1019h01m3h02m+67°23’16.22″11h03m
NGC 21756.8019h23m3h03m+63°32’34.23″10h42m
Cr 895.7019h14m3h11m+66°40’59.18″11h08m
Cr 916.4021h00m3h15m+45°25’26.03″9h29m
NGC 2232 (Double Wedge Cluster)3.9021h36m3h20m+38°18’02.68″9h04m
Cr 975.4020h54m3h24m+48°57’58.99″9h54m
NGC 2244 (Rosette Nebula)4.8020h59m3h25m+47°59’30.76″9h50m
Cr 1064.6021h00m3h30m+48°59’46.87″10h00m
Cr 1075.1021h06m3h31m+47°46’47.97″9h55m
Cr 1117.0020h57m3h32m+49°56’41.78″10h06m
NGC 2264 (Christmas Tree Cluster)3.9020h46m3h34m+52°56’13.79″10h21m
M 41 (Little Beehive Cluster)4.5023h10m3h39m+22°18’36.78″8h07m
NGC 2281 (Broken Heart Cluster)5.4016h52m3h42m+84°06’08.15″14h32m
NGC 2301 (Hagrid’s Dragon Cluster)6.0021h38m3h45m+43°30’03.93″9h51m
M 50 (Heart-Shaped Cluster)5.9022h28m3h56m+34°42’12.95″9h24m
NGC 2343 (Doublemint Cluster)6.7022h43m4h01m+32°25’24.93″9h19m
M 474.4023h30m4h29m+28°32’46.88″9h29m
NGC 24236.7023h27m4h30m+29°09’22.77″9h33m
M 466.1023h36m4h35m+28°13’01.24″9h33m
M 485.8023h28m5h07m+37°15’05.33″10h46m
M 44 (Beehive Cluster)3.1021h59m5h34m+62°38’29.85″13h08m
M 67 (Golden-Eye Cluster)6.9022h49m5h45m+54°46’23.81″12h40m
NGC 6811 (Hole in a Cluster)6.8016h28m+89°26’22.42″
NGC 68715.207h26m16h57m+78°53’44.60″2h27m
M 29 (Cooling Tower Cluster)6.607h10m17h15m+81°38’52.42″3h20m
NGC 6940 (Mothra Cluster)6.308h58m17h25m+71°25’06.25″1h53m
NGC 7023 (Iris Nebula)6.8017h52m+68°41’51.09″
LDN 9622.0017h53m+88°36’15.24″
NGC 70637.008h37m18h15m+79°37’47.96″3h54m
M 394.6018h23m+88°22’32.31″
LDN 10854.0018h24m+80°05’54.23″
IC 1396 (Elephant’s Trunk Nebula)3.5018h30m+79°21’00.10″
NGC 7160 (Swimming Alligator Cluster)6.1018h45m+74°14’07.98″
NGC 72436.4019h06m+86°54’38.79″
M 52 (Cassiopeia Salt-and-Pepper Cluster)6.9020h16m+75°13’28.26″
NGC 76865.6020h21m+87°36’23.56″
NGC 7789 (Caroline’s Rose Cluster)6.7020h49m+80°06’05.79″
NGC 1296.5021h22m+76°35’44.92″
NGC 225 (Sailboat Cluster)7.0021h36m+75°02’28.18″
NGC 457 (Dragonfly Cluster)6.4022h12m+78°31’45.25″
NGC 654 (Fuzzy Butterfly Cluster)6.5022h36m+74°56’25.27″
NGC 7525.7012h55m22h50m+80°55’58.47″8h45m
NGC 869 (Double Cluster)3.8023h12m+79°41’56.67″
NGC 884 (Double Cluster)3.8023h15m+79°42’10.84″
IC 1805 (Heart Nebula)6.5023h25m+75°23’17.21″
Cr 295.9023h30m+80°50’46.87″
M 34 (Spiral Cluster)5.2023h35m+85°51’50.15″
NGC 10276.7023h36m+75°12’31.22″
IC 1848 (Soul Nebula)6.5023h44m+76°25’58.55″


IC 342 (Maffei 1 Group)9.100h40m+68°47’04.80″
NGC 24038.904h31m+71°24’10.52″
M 81 (Bode’s Galaxy)6.946h50m+68°00’00.14″
M 82 (Cigar Galaxy)8.416h50m+67°23’09.69″
M 1068.419h13m+89°27’05.84″
NGC 4449 (The Box Galaxy)9.409h22m+86°58’09.94″
M 51 (Whirlpool Galaxy)8.1010h24m+89°25’09.58″
M 101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)7.8610h57m+82°41’41.20″
M 102 (Spindle Galaxy)9.8912h00m+81°15’32.19″
NGC 6946 (Fireworks Galaxy)9.6017h25m+76°42’54.32″
IC 10 (Starburst Galaxy)9.5021h12m+77°31’10.39″
NGC 1479.5021h25m+88°14’05.56″
NGC 1859.2021h31m+88°23’48.22″
NGC 7331 (Deer Lick Group)9.4810h11m19h28m+77°35’10.50″4h46m
M 1108.0710h20m21h32m+84°50’24.70″8h45m
M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)3.4410h36m21h35m+84°25’31.03″8h34m
M 328.0810h46m21h35m+84°01’24.59″8h23m
M 33 (Triangulum Galaxy)5.7213h41m22h26m+73°49’32.49″7h11m
M 74 (Phantom Galaxy)9.3915h13m22h29m+58°57’31.66″5h45m
IC 16139.2115h43m21h57m+45°18’29.26″4h11m
IC 1279.2016h47m22h22m+36°12’44.14″3h56m
M 77 (Cetus A)8.8717h30m23h35m+43°09’02.53″5h40m
PGC 3589 (Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy)8.6018h47m21h52m+9°33’40.48″0h57m
NGC 1232 (Eye of God Galaxy)9.8719h32m0h02m+22°36’10.61″4h32m
NGC 1407 (Eridanus A Group)9.6719h52m0h32m+24°35’05.54″5h13m
PGC 10074 (Fornax Dwarf Galaxy)7.4020h34m23h32m+8°48’05.64″2h30m
NGC 13809.9321h35m0h29m+8°15’40.45″3h22m
NGC 13999.5921h42m0h31m+7°47’29.61″3h19m
NGC 1269 (Snow Collar Galaxy)8.4622h32m0h09m+2°18’26.76″1h46m
M 63 (Sunflower Galaxy)8.5922h54m10h10m+84°55’26.33″21h25m
M 94 (Croc’s Eye Galaxy)8.2422h56m9h45m+84°01’06.22″20h33m
NGC 4244 (Silver Needle Galaxy)10.0023h19m9h11m+80°42’51.35″19h03m
NGC 3344 (Sliced Onion Galaxy)9.8623h33m7h37m+67°51’05.65″15h41m

Messier objects

M 40 (Winnecke 4)9.659h16m+78°59’27.29″
M 1037.4022h26m+76°10’18.34″
M 76 (Little Dumbbell Nebula)10.1022h35m+85°13’20.22″
M 34 (Spiral Cluster)5.2023h35m+85°51’50.15″
M 81 (Bode’s Galaxy)6.946h50m+68°00’00.14″
M 82 (Cigar Galaxy)8.416h50m+67°23’09.69″
M 108 (Surfboard Galaxy)10.708h05m+81°23’45.12″
M 97 (Owl Nebula)9.908h09m+82°03’00.15″
M 109 (Vacuum Cleaner Galaxy)10.608h51m+83°41’28.43″
M 1068.419h13m+89°27’05.84″
M 51 (Whirlpool Galaxy)8.1010h24m+89°25’09.58″
M 101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)7.8610h57m+82°41’41.20″
M 102 (Spindle Galaxy)9.8912h00m+81°15’32.19″
M 926.4014h07m+86°09’39.09″
M 394.6018h23m+88°22’32.31″
M 52 (Cassiopeia Salt-and-Pepper Cluster)6.9020h16m+75°13’28.26″
M 57 (Ring Nebula)8.806h40m15h44m+76°06’43.75″0h48m
M 29 (Cooling Tower Cluster)6.607h10m17h15m+81°38’52.42″3h20m
M 568.407h27m16h07m+73°16’48.08″0h48m
M 27 (Dumbbell Nebula)7.408h58m16h51m+65°50’33.57″0h43m
M 1108.0710h20m21h32m+84°50’24.73″8h45m
M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)3.4410h36m21h35m+84°25’31.03″8h34m
M 328.0810h46m21h35m+84°01’24.59″8h23m
M 15 (Pegasus Cluster)6.3011h23m18h21m+55°19’53.21″1h20m
M 33 (Triangulum Galaxy)5.7213h41m22h26m+73°49’32.49″7h11m
M 74 (Phantom Galaxy)9.3915h13m22h29m+58°57’31.66″5h45m
M 45 (Pleiades)1.2016h39m0h40m+67°14’59.31″8h40m
M 38 (Starfish Cluster)6.4016h51m2h22m+78°55’44.98″11h53m
M 36 (Pinwheel Cluster)6.0017h16m2h29m+77°12’37.32″11h43m
M 77 (Cetus A)8.8717h30m23h35m+43°09’02.53″5h40m
M 37 (January Salt-and-Pepper Cluster)5.6017h46m2h45m+75°36’52.45″11h45m
M 1 (Crab Nebula)8.4018h39m2h27m+65°05’24.73″10h15m
M 35 (Shoe-Buckle Cluster)5.1019h01m3h02m+67°23’16.22″11h03m
M 78 (Casper the Friendly Ghost Nebula)8.3020h35m2h39m+43°05’34.48″8h44m
M 43 (de Mairan’s Nebula)9.0020h46m2h28m+37°49’08.69″8h10m
M 42 (Great Orion Nebula)4.0020h47m2h28m+37°41’53.55″8h09m
M 44 (Beehive Cluster)3.1021h59m5h34m+62°38’29.85″13h08m
M 798.5622h09m2h17m+18°35’55.40″6h25m
M 50 (Heart-Shaped Cluster)5.9022h28m3h56m+34°42’12.95″9h24m
M 67 (Golden-Eye Cluster)6.9022h49m5h45m+54°46’23.81″12h40m
M 63 (Sunflower Galaxy)8.5922h54m10h10m+84°55’26.33″21h25m
M 94 (Croc’s Eye Galaxy)8.2422h56m9h45m+84°01’06.22″20h33m
M 41 (Little Beehive Cluster)4.5023h10m3h39m+22°18’36.78″8h07m
M 485.8023h28m5h07m+37°15’05.33″10h46m
M 474.4023h30m4h29m+28°32’46.88″9h29m
M 466.1023h36m4h35m+28°13’01.24″9h33m

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