If nothing else, the Super Moon from the past few nights made me miss my New York home. Being the closest it’s been in almost 70 years, the moon was larger and brighter than usual on my drive back from work. It was spectacular, but I couldn’t help but feel sad that there were no stars to be seen.
Being so close to the city of Indianapolis, the light pollution makes a good night of star-gazing hard to come by. I often describe the Finger Lakes region as a honeycomb of small towns. These little towns all nestled together, combined with the glacial hills and divots in the land means that the sky is often vividly visible. Whenever the clouds made way for a clear night, I would be dazzled by millions upon millions of twinkling stars.
This time of year, as the weather gets colder and the clouds settle outwards, these clear nights start to happen much more often. November particularly is a cool month to be looking at the sky from New York State; among the dozens of constellations that are visible from this part of the hemisphere, approximately seven different planets make appearances throughout the night.
The one that I remember most vividly growing up is Mars. Usually Mars makes is ghostly red appearance just as the sun is fully setting. We usually miss a few of the other planets because it’s not yet dark enough to see them well, but by about 9:30 p.m., Mars is typically showing it’s glow-y and magnificent self.
Late night owls might get the chance to see Neptune just after midnight, though it takes a bit of a trained eye to pick it out – it seems so small for something so massive. Those lucky enough to have a telescope can try and consult a star chart if they feel so inclined, but for the rest of us, even Google has a more user-friendly version of a sky map that will tell you generally where to look.
Technology aside though, I’m usually quite content to just take a few moments to stand out in the driveway. Trust me, if you follow suit you won’t even notice that you can see your breath a little – you’ll be too distracted with being impressed by the stars.