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Welcome to the Night Sky for November 2023. November is a beautiful month for stargazing! The skies are darker; the biting bugs have disappeared. Dazzling planets are on display this month, with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus views! See the highlights from Almanac astronomer Bob Berman.
Spotlight on the Planets
The month of November is prime for planet viewing, with three of our neighbors making an appearance.
On November 1–2, Jupiter reaches its closest point to Earth. On November 3, Jupiter reaches “opposition.” The planet will be opposite the Sun in our sky, fully illuminated, and shining overhead. Bottom-line: Jupiter will appear at its largest and brightest for the year. Read my post on Jupiter at Opposition.
Also, this evening, Saturn will be visible in the constellation of Aquarius. It’s a perfect night to break out the telescope because anyone with a minimum magnification of 30x can observe its famous rings.
November 9 brings us a stunning, don’t-miss conjunction. Standing a comfortable 24° high at 5 AM, the crescent Moon and Venus, the night’s most brilliant bodies, meet up.
Later, on November 13, 2023, you can catch a sighting of Uranus, who will come into opposition. Using your trusty binoculars, look for a green “star” halfway between Jupiter and the Pleiades star cluster.
November 24 and 25 are another great chance to catch a view of Jupiter. Just look up! Jupiter will be the brightest “star” right next to the Moon.
On the morning of November 27, 2023, at 4:16 A.M., the Full Moon will reach its peak. This Moon is known as the “Beaver” Moon because this is the time of year when beavers begin to take shelter in their lodges, having laid up sufficient food stores for the long winter ahead.
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 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 18–19. This moderate meteor shower has about 10 to 15 meteors per hour after midnight. If you are watching for shooting stars, look toward the part of the night sky 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.