Big dipper constellation in a dark blue sky

Minnesota Skies: November 2022

Learn more about what to see in November's night sky!

Published10/28/2022 , by Deane Morrison

As night falls on November 1, a just-past-first-quarter moon hangs below Saturn, with brilliant Jupiter off to the east. The moon continues to wax as it glides between the two planets on November 2 and 3 and below Jupiter on November 4. 

Between and well below the planets shines Fomalhaut, dubbed the “loneliest star” due to being located nowhere near any other bright stars. Fomalhaut represents the mouth of Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish, an extremely dim constellation. 

A diagram showing Jupiter and Saturn's positions on the night of November 1

November’s full moon undergoes a total eclipse in the early hours of November 8. The eclipse begins at 3:09 am when the moon starts to enter Earth’s dark inner shadow. Totality lasts from 4:16 to 5:41 am, with maximum eclipse at 4:59 am. The eclipse ends at 6:49 am.

As the moon darkens, the bright winter stars come into their full glory, complete with special guest Mars. The Pleiades star cluster glimmers above the moon, and Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the bull, shines to the east of the Pleiades. Aldebaran and Betelgeuse—at Orion’s right shoulder—form a nearly equilateral triangle with Mars; the red planet will be the highest of the three. 

Mars rises in the northeast about two and a half hours after sunset on November 1 and appears earlier every evening. This is a great month to watch Mars, not only because it’s rising in convenient evening hours but because it’s rapidly brightening as Earth gains on it in the orbital race. Mars reaches its peak brightness in early December when Earth finally catches up to it. 

The Leonid meteor shower peaks after midnight on the mornings of November 17 to 19. This can be an exciting shower; however, for most of this year’s show a waning but still bright moon will interfere.