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In the Sky This Month

The second total lunar eclipse of the year for most of the United States highlights the month, although there’s plenty to see throughout November. Mars brightens during the month and moves closer to another bright orange pinpoint, Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus. In the second half of November, another denizen of the bull, the sparkly Pleiades star cluster, reaches its highest point in the sky about midnight.

November 30: Moon and Companions

The Moon slides through a bright triangle this evening — the planets Jupiter and Saturn and the star Fomalhaut. Jupiter is the brightest point, to the upper left of the Moon. Saturn is farther to the lower right of the Moon. Fomalhaut stands below the Moon.

December 1: Moon and Jupiter

Jupiter is close to the Moon tonight. It looks like a brilliant star. Binoculars reveal Jupiter’s four biggest moons. They look like tiny stars lined up near the solar system’s biggest planet.

December 2: Auriga

The constellation Auriga, the charioteer, is low in the northeast at nightfall and passes directly overhead around midnight. Its brightest star is yellow-orange Capella, one of the brighter stars in the night sky.

December 3: Orion Rising

The longer, colder nights of late autumn bring one of the great skywatching treats of the year: the return of Orion to prime time. The hunter is in good view in the east and southeast by 9 o’clock and climbs high across the sky later on.

December 4: Rigel

Look for Rigel, the brightest star in the constellation Orion the hunter, low in the east-southeast by about eight o’clock. The bright blue-white star stands to the right of Orion’s Belt, a short line of three stars that extends straight up from the horizon.

December 5: Mars I

Mars is at its best this week. The planet lines up opposite the Sun, so it’s closest to Earth and is in view all night. It’s low in the east-northeast at nightfall and looks like a brilliant orange star. It climbs high across the sky later on.

December 6: Mars II

Look for Mars low in the east-northeast as night falls, to the lower left of the Moon, and climbing high across the sky later on. It looks like a bright orange star. Only the Moon and the planets Venus and Jupiter outshine it.

First QuarterFirst November 1, 1:37 am

Full MoonFull November 8, 5:02 am

Last quarterLast November 16, 7:27 am

New MoonNew November 23, 4:57 pm

First QuarterFirst November 30, 8:37 am

Times are U.S. Central Time.

Apogee November 14

Perigee November 25

The full Moon of November is known as the Frost Moon or Snow Moon.