November 2022

Welcome to SkyEye, your guide to this month's celestial events.

The Calendar

A blood red Moon appears on 8 November when our satellite passes through the shadow of Earth. Later in the month, the waning crescent Moon slightly inconveniences the Leonid and α Monocerotid meteor showers.

The phases of the Moon in November 2022

Date Body Event
1 Moon first quarter
8 Moon ascending node
Earth, Moon total lunar eclipse
Moon full
Moon, Uranus lunar occultation of Uranus: visible from eastern Asia and northwestern North America
Mercury superior conjunction
9 Uranus opposition
Mercury descending node
11 Saturn east quadrature
13 Moon 1.7° south of β Geminorum (Pollux)
14 Moon apogee
16 Moon last quarter
17 Earth Leonid meteor shower
19 Mercury aphelion
21 Earth α Monocerotid meteor shower
Venus descending node
Mercury, Venus planetary conjunction: 1.3° apart
22 Moon descending node
23 Moon new
24 Jupiter stationary in right ascension: retrograde → direct
Moon, Mercury lunar occultation of Mercury
26 Moon perigee
30 Moon first quarter

The Solar System

The word planet is derived from the Greek word for 'wanderer'. Unlike the background stars, planets seem to move around the sky, keeping mostly to a narrow track called the ecliptic, the path of the Sun across the stars. Dwarf planets and small solar-system bodies, including comets, are not so constrained, often moving far above or below the ecliptic.

The position of the Sun and planets at mid-month

Sun LibraScorpiusOphiuchus

Although Ophiuchus is not a member of the zodiac, the ecliptic passes through it.

Mercury VirgoLibraScorpiusOphiuchus

Mercury actually travels behind the disk of the Sun during the superior conjunction of 8 November. Usually it passes either north or south of the Sun due to the tilt of its orbit relative to Earth's. Afterward, the tiny planet returns to the evening sky for a mediocre apparition that carries on into next year. Its final aphelion of the year takes place on 19 November and it appears close to Venus on 21 November. The very young crescent Moon occults Mercury three days later but the event occurs in the daytime over the Antarctic.

Venus LibraScorpiusOphiuchus

Following last month's superior conjunction, Venus is now visible low in the west after sunset. It descends through the ecliptic on 21 November and passes just 1.3° north of Mercury on the same day.

Earth and Moon

Following on from last month's partial solar eclipse, the Moon itself is eclipsed by the Earth's shadow when it undergoes a total lunar eclipse on 8 November. The Full Moon occults Uranus a little later. The waning crescent Moon offers little interference for the watching of the Leonids and α Monocerotids, and on 24 November, the very young Moon occults Mercury.

Mars Taurus

Mars is rising ever earlier and is increasingly easy to spot in the east after dark. It shines a brilliant magnitude −1.2 at the beginning of the month and brightens further to −1.8 by the end of November.

Jupiter Pisces

Jupiter returns to direct motion late this month. It is visible in the evening skies, setting later for northern hemisphere observers than for southern.

Saturn Capricornus

The ringed planet reaches east quadrature on 11 November. This is an excellent time to photograph the planet and its ring system as the shadows are cast slightly off to one side. Find Saturn in the evening skies but don't delay as it now sets before midnight.

Uranus Aries

The Full Moon occults Uranus on 8 November, the day before the green ice giant comes to opposition. The lunar occultation begins around 11:00 UT and is visible throughout western Asia and northwestern North America (Alaska and parts of Canada). At magnitude +5.6 at opposition, the faint planet will be washed out by moonlight; optical aids will be required to see it.

Neptune Aquarius

A small telescope is necessary to view the most distant planet in the solar system. Neptune is well-placed for observation, already above the horizon by the time twilight fades and not setting until after midnight.

The Celestial Sphere

Constellations are patterns of stars in the sky. The International Astronomical Union recognises 88 different constellations. The brightest stars as seen from the Earth are easy to spot but do you know their proper names? With a set of binoculars you can look for fainter objects such as nebulae and galaxies and star clusters or some of the closest stars to the Sun.

Descriptions of the sky for observers in both the northern and southern hemispheres are available for the following times this month. Subtract one hour from your local time if summer (daylight savings) time is in effect.

Local Time Mid-month Northern Hemisphere Equator Southern Hemisphere
1730 hours (1830 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
1930 hours (2030 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
2130 hours (2230 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
2330 hours (0030 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
0130 hours (0230 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
0330 hours (0430 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S
0530 hours (0630 hours summer time) 60° N 50° N 40° N 30° N 20° N 10° N 10° S 20° S 30° S 40° S