Every month, AY About You outlines the night sky in these easily digestible guides. And stargazing in November is another one for the books.
This month features local astrophotography from Arkansan Tony Milligan. You can find more of his spectacular photos on his website, Captured in Time.
Third Quarter: Nov. 8
New Moon: Nov. 14*
First Quarter: Nov. 21
Full Moon: Nov. 30*
Like last month, we have two special moons lined up in November. This month’s New Moon is a Supermoon, as our natural satellite’s cyclical perigee (closest point) coincides with this faceless phase.
The Full Moon this month is known as the Beaver Moon, as this is the time of year when the animals will begin their midnight dam building to prepare for the winter.
Northern Taurids Meteor Shower: 10/20-12/10
Peak Night: Nov. 12
An unusually long-running shower, the Northern Taurids is a mild shower known for around five to 10 meteors per hour at its peak and consists of debris from Asteroid 2004 TG10. It is a rather minor shower in context with its cousins that are richer in quantity. But what it lacks in numbers, the Taurids is more than capable of delivering on in quality, as it can sometimes rain “fireballs,” or very bright meteors. The moon will be close to New on the projected peak night, providing better-than-average viewability. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Taurus.
Leonids Meteor Shower: 11/6-30
Peak Night: Nov. 16
Another double-feature of showers this month includes the Leonids, an average event with around 15 meteors per hour. Made up of dust grains from the comet Tempel-Tuttle, the Leonids will radiate from the constellation Leo. Every 30 or so years, this shower can amplify to hundreds of meteors per hour, but that isn’t on the forecast again until the 2030s. Nearly equidistant from the New Moon as the Taurids, the sky should be primed for darkness and a good showing of shooting stars.
Planets and Special Events
Nov. 10: Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation
Just one month after reaching its Greatest Eastern Elongation, Mercury arrives at its Greatest Western Elongation this month. The night will also mark the innermost planet’s ascent to the highest point in our sky during this cycle, making it a great month to view our celestial neighbor. However, given the direction, this is an early morning event. So look to the southeast at dawn, just before the sun rises.
Nov. 30: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse caps the month of November off, as the Earth will pass between the Sun and Moon on the night of the Full Moon. This will cast a shadow over the moon’s surface for a period of time that night. In our time zone, the saga will occur between around 1:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., with the maximum eclipse set to transpire at 3:44 a.m. in the western sky.
In the News
Pair of Studies Confirm There is Water on the Moon (Washington Post)
There is water on the moon’s surface, and ice may be widespread in its many shadows, according to a pair of studies published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy. The research confirms long-standing theories about the existence of lunar water that could someday enable astronauts to live there for extended periods.
No public events this month. Stay home and stay well.
If you’re still itching for more space to curb your boredom this month, give Celestia and Stellarium a try. Both are free to use and provide unique and interactive experiences with the stars, planets and more.
The best stargazing results are always going to be under the darkest of skies. So, if you can, find a place as far away from city lights as possible when stargazing in November.