Welcome to the Sky Watch for November 2021. Midmonth brings some twilight delights! On November 10, the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn form a triangle; then, on Veterans Day, spot Jupiter and a First Quarter Moon just 4° apart! See more information and other highlights of the November Sky including a nearly total lunar eclipse.
November is a wonderful month for stargazing! The skies are darker. The biting bugs have disappeared. And it’s that magic time before winter begins.
On the 6th of November, a couple days after the New Moon, look for the very slender waxing crescent Moon twilight. A strange but famous feature becomes visible: The dark unlit portion of the Moon (the area unlit by the Sun) seems to glow! Historically, this is called “the new Moon in the old Moon’s arms.” Today, we call this Earthshine!
Bright Planets for November 2021
Venus starts the month at a dazzling magnitude –4.33, crossing into Sagittarius and floating directly in front of our galaxy’s center, which is off in the far distance.
On Sunday evening, November 7, get outside! The gorgeous crescent Moon flirts with bright Venus. The bright planet is impossible to miss, appearing about 5 degrees to the upper left of Moon. Look when evening twilight ends at 6:01 p.m. EST; the Moon will appear about 11 degrees above the southwestern horizon. The Moon will then set at 7:23 p.m.
Then on Monday evening, the 8th, find Venus to the lower right of the waxing crescent Moon.
Venus reaches its most southerly zodiac position at mid-month. Its declination of –27 degrees makes it set as far left as possible, in the southwest instead of the west.
The crescent Moon then lines up with Saturn and Jupiter from November 9 to 11. Look after sunset low in the sky with a good view to the horizon. Here are highlights:
On Wednesday, November 10, the waxing crescent Moon forms a triangle with Jupiter and Saturn after sunset. The Moon is between the two gas giant planets, but closer to Saturn at about 5 degrees to the upper right of the Moon. Brighter planet Jupiter appearing farther to the upper left. The Moon will appear about 28 degrees above the southern horizon as evening twilight ends at 5:58 p.m. EST, and Saturn will set first on the west-southwestern horizon at 10:26 p.m.
On Thursday evening, November 11, Jupiter meets the First Quarter Moon just 4 degrees apart after sunset. Planet Saturn now appears farther to the right. The Moon will appear about 31 degrees above the southern horizon as evening twilight ends at 5:58 p.m. EST, Saturn will set first on the west-southwestern horizon at 10:22 p.m., and Jupiter will set next at 11:40 p.m. On the 11th, there’s also a meteor shower after midnight! See more below.
Beginning Saturday morning, November 13, the planet Mars will begin appearing above the east-southeastern horizon as morning twilight begins.
Nearly Total Lunar Eclipse on November 18–19
Friday, November 19 brings the full Moon at 3:59 a.m. EDT. The Moon will be close enough to opposite the Sun that it will pass through the shadow of the Earth, causing a near-total lunar eclipse in the hours before dawn. The lunar eclipse will peak about 4 A.M. on the 19th, though it begins around 1 A.M. when the Earth’s shadow starts to cover the Moon’s disk.
This 98 percent eclipsed Moon will be a strange, coppery sight—which is why you may hear this referred to as a “Blood Moon.” It’s well worth a look by early risers and insomniacs who have unobstructed views of the low western sky.
First up this month are the “Taurids” which peak late evening the nights of November 11–12 . There are only a few per hour, but at least they peak in late evening versus pre-dawn like most meteor showers. So if you’re out camping or just outdoors that evening, perhaps you’ll catch a fireball or two! Though few in number, they are known to be exceptionally bright.
Then the “Leonids” peak November 16–17. This is a moderate meteor shower with about 10 to 15 meteors per hour after midnight; however the full Moon on November 19 will probably wash this one out. If you are watching for shooting stars, look toward the part of the night sky that’s furthest away from the Moon. See the Moon phase calendar.
Let’s not forget about stars and constellations this month! When you look to the south on November evenings, your view of the sky is dominated by “The Water.” This region of the night sky is full of constellations relating to aquatic life, but our tour of The Water begins with an airborne equine. Learn more and get our free and printable November Star Chart.