During the next two weeks of November, there will be three significant sky phenomena to look out for, including a meteor shower that will peak this week and a partial lunar eclipse that will turn the full moon a rusty-orange color.
The Northern Taurid meteor shower will continue throughout the week. Still, it will peak late Thursday night, November 11, into the early morning hours of Friday, November 12, with anything from 10 to 15 meteors per hour whizzing across the sky in dark places.
According to astronomers, the moon phase and moon-set timings in November will be ideal for getting a glimpse of these shooting stars.
When the meteors began to emerge on November 5, the moon was in its crescent phase. The moon gets a bit broader and brighter each night, and it sets roughly an hour later. Even on November 12, when the moon’s phase has advanced to only a day past the first quarter, it will set at 12:50 a.m., leaving the remainder of the night dark for meteor viewing. Taurid meteors are yellowish-orange in hue and appear to travel more slowly than other shooting stars.
According to the astronomy site, their name originates from how they appear to radiate from the constellation Taurus, the Bull, which lies low in the east a few hours after dusk and is practically directly above by approximately 1:30 a.m. local time. Even as late as November 12, the beautiful moon will have left the scene just before Taurus reaches its zenith in the sky.
If you don’t get to witness the Taurids, another meteor shower will peak this month. According to astronomers, the Leonid meteor shower will be most active from November 16 to dawn on November 17.
However, because of the brightness from the moon as it approaches its most entire phase of the month, it may not be easy to see the Leonids. The beautiful waxing gibbous moon will be visible almost the whole night. It will set in the early morning hours before dawn. The Leonids generate 10 to 15 meteors per hour in dark places far from city lights in a typical year. However, due to the moonlight, that number is projected to be significantly smaller this year.
Skywatchers in the eastern United States will be able to enjoy a partial lunar eclipse later this month, but they will have to get up early. The eclipse will occur in the early morning hours of November 19, when the so-called beaver moon will officially become full just before 4 a.m. Eastern time.
In November, the lunar eclipse will be very near to a total lunar eclipse, with only a sliver of the moon missing Earth’s black inner shadow. As a result, the moon may seem rusty orange or red for a brief period, similar to what happens during the peak of a complete eclipse. Because of the rusty orange tint, many skywatchers refer to a full moon during a lunar eclipse as a blood moon.
Following the partial eclipse and full moon on November 19, the final of 2021’s 12 full moons will appear in the sky on December 18. It is popularly referred to as the chilly moon since the winter chill begins to set in. The next supermoon, a full moon that looks significantly larger and brighter than typical due to its closest orbit to Earth, will not arrive until June 14, 2022.