The sky this week from November 4 to 11
tuesday november 8
Today is a busy day! First, the full moon occurs at 6:02 a.m. EST. The November Full Moon is also known as the Beaver Moon. But this Beaver Moon is special, because it’s about to turn red. This morning there is a total lunar eclipse which lasts 85 minutes. Everyone in the United States will see at least part of the eclipse, which will be the last total lunar eclipse visible from the country until March 2025.
The first stage of the eclipse, when the Moon slips into Earth’s lighter outer umbra, begins just after 3 a.m. EST. The partial eclipse, which is when Luna will begin to darken, begins just before 4:10 a.m. EST. And totality lasts from 5:16 a.m. to 6:41 a.m. EST, after which the Moon begins to emerge from the shadow. The partial eclipse then ends just before 7:50 a.m. EST, and the whole thing ends shortly before 9 a.m. EST.
The Moon is currently in Aries, near the location of magnitude 5.7 Uranus. When totality begins, Uranus will be 1.9° east of the Moon’s limb, within the field of view of binoculars or a small telescope. And for observers in some parts of the world — northwestern Canada, Alaska and eastern Asia — the Moon will pass, or occult, Uranus around the time the partial phase ends. Our satellite will later pass 0.8° due north of Uranus at 8:00 a.m. EST.
Completing today’s events is one that you can not see: Mercury reaches superior conjunction at noon EST. It will reappear in the evening sky in early December.
Sunset: 4:50 p.m.
Moonrise: 4:59 p.m.
Moon setting: 06:46
Moon phase: Full
Wednesday, November 9
Whether or not you saw the Moon occulting Uranus last night, the icy giant is in the spotlight once again as Uranus hits opposition at 3am EST. The penultimate planet in the solar system is visible all night, so you can choose to observe in the evening after dark or in the morning before sunrise.
Uranus is currently located in Aries; early this morning, the icy giant is 10° directly below (northwest of) the bright Moon. After sunset, the Moon moved twice as far, now about 20° east-northeast of the planet.
Although Uranus’ magnitude 5.7 glow may be visible to keen eyes under dark skies, the nearby Moon means it’s definitely a target for binoculars or a telescope tonight. The planet’s disk appears only 4″ in diameter and forms the tip of a low, stubby isosceles triangle with Rho (ρ) and Sigma (σ) Arietis forming the base between them.
For those looking for a brighter target, look for Jupiter’s magnitude -2.7 at dusk. As darkness grows over the East Coast, Europa is already transiting the planet’s broad disk. Large moon Ganymede follows, sliding across Jupiter’s face at 7:15 p.m. EST. Forty-five minutes later, the two moons straddle the central meridian, with Europa to the west and Ganymede to the east. It is quite a picturesque sight. At this time, Io is in Jupiter’s long dark shadow to the northeast; it will appear just after 8:50 p.m. EST.
But there’s more: Europa’s umbra finally begins to transit at 8:06 p.m. EST, about 30 minutes before the moon itself slides off the disc to the west. From then on, Ganymede leads the shadow of his lunar companion through the tops of the clouds. Ganymede leaves the disc at 10:03 p.m. EST and Europe’s shadow finally completes its trek at 10:35 p.m. EST.
This sequence of events will repeat itself twice more in November.
Sunset: 4:49 p.m.
Moonrise: 5:32 p.m.
Moon setting: 7:53
Moon phase: Waning gibbous (98%)