With November, we take steps closer to the solstice. In the northern hemisphere, winter approaches in earnest; in the southern, the sun is welcomed back and temperatures continue to rise. The November night sky this month is also a time of astronomical activity, with active meteor showers, planetary close approaches, and even a few extra astronomical events we don’t get every month.
Hopefully, the skies will be clear and dark for you to enjoy at least one, or to get out for one of these other astronomical events happening in the November night sky.
If you need a telescope to help enjoy this month’s night sky events, we have a guide to the best stargazing telescopes and binoculars. On that page you’ll find resources on how to find a good piece of astronomical equipment that fits your budget and helps unlock the wonders of the November night sky.
This post was originally published in October 2018, and updated most recently in October 2022.
November 8: Total Lunar Eclipse
November kicks off with a bang – despite the first event in the November night sky not taking place until a week into the month. On the night of November 8th (or 9th, depending on your location), there will be a total lunar eclipse across much of the western hemisphere (and part of the eastern hemisphere, too!).
For most those viewing from the western hemisphere, the lunar eclipse can be seen early on the 8th; if you’re viewing in eastern hemisphere, it will be visible late on the 8th or early on the 9th. The total phase of the lunar eclipse begins at 10:16 UTC on November 8th, and the total eclipse ends at 11:41 UTC. This means there’s a ~1.5 hour window in which you can see the total lunar eclipse.
If you’re curious to see this blood moon, I’ve got a complete guide with all the details; click here to read it!
November 8: Lunar Occultation of Uranus
All year long, I’ve been sharing the lunar occultations of Uranus when they happen, even though most people have been unable to view it or it’s been visible to only sparsely populated areas. However, this month’s has some better viewing prospects if you’re in the area that will be able to see it.
In particular, the lunar occultation of Uranus on November 8th/9th will be visible to those in Alaska, eastern Russia, eastern China, eastern Mongolia, and all of Korea and Japan. I don’t know how many of you readers call these places home, but if you do, here’s the info you need if you want to try and spot this ice giant.
November 9: Uranus at Opposition
Speaking of giant, icy Uranus… If there were ever a time to try and spot it in 2022, then November 8th and 9th are the two nights to give it a go.
After the lunar occultation of Uranus on the 8th, Uranus will be at opposition on the 9th, which means that it will be brightly lit by the sun and appear its brightest in the sky for the year. However, Uranus is incredibly hard to spot even in pristine dark sky conditions, so it’s best to grab your telescope or a pair of astronomical binoculars if you want to see this methane-blue planet. Look for Uranus in the constellation Aires between midnight and 6am local time.
November 12: Asteroid 27 Euterpe at Opposition
If you’ve got a good telescope and want to give it a workout, there are a number of asteroids at opposition in November. First up is 27 Euterpe (pronounced “ewe-ter-pee”), the parent body of the Euterpe family of asteroids in the inner asteroid belt. It was named by its discoverer, astronomer John Russell Hind, after the Muse of music in Greek mythology.
27 Euterpe is roughly 62 miles (100km) in diameter, and one of the brightest asteroids in the sky. During a recent opposition, it shined as brightly as magnitude 8.3. This makes it about as bright as Neptune at opposition and definitely requires a star-finder app and a telescope or binoculars to spot this solar system object.
November 12: Peak of the Northern Taurids Meteor Shower
On the night of November 12th, head outside to try and spot the Northern Taurids meteors as this shower peaks in activity on the 12th. The Taurids run from approximately October 20th to November 30th. On the night of peak activity, you can spot up to 10 meteors per hour; unfortunately, the moon will not be at a great phase, nearly full and 78% illuminated.
Look for the Taurids radiant point in the constellation of Taurus. For most people, it will be in the eastern or southern sky depending on your location. Keep your eyes peeled in the general direction of Taurus, but look around that area of the night sky to spot meteors with longer tails.
November 17: Peak of the Leonids Meteor Shower
As the end of the calendar year gets closer, there are more meteor showers to enjoy! Why? That’s just how our orbit works, as we cross the debris paths of comets and asteroids during our celestial dance.
The Leonids meteor shower occurs in the November night sky for most of the month, but the night of peak activity is November 17th this year. If you’re out this night, look for up to 15 meteors per hour depending on your location. It’s also possible to see Leonids each night between November 15th and 20th.
The Leonids appear from a radiant point in the constellation Leo, which will be in the northeastern sky for most people. If you can spot the Big Dipper/Plough, you’re in the right part of the sky to spot some shooting stars.
Here’s my complete guide to seeing the Leonids in 2021; I’ll be updating it for 2022 very soon, but the basics are the same.
November 19: Asteroid 115 Thyra at Opposition
Pull out your telescope again! On the night of November 19th, there’s another asteroid-spotting opportunity when 115 Thyra reaches opposition. This large and bright inner main-belt asteroid was discovered back in 1871, so it’s likely your home stargazing equipment will help you spot it too.
November 21: Peak of the α-Monocerotids Meteor Shower
For southern hemisphere stargazers, here’s another meteor shower for you! For the whole night of November 21st, look for meteors from the radiant point in Monoceros. The best meteor-spotting prospects will be between 1:00am and 3:00am local time.
November 22: Asteroid 324 Bamberga at Opposition
For another asteroid-viewing opportunity, pull your telescope or binoculars out on the night of November 22nd – which is also great timing for stargazing in general if your skies are clear as it’s the night of November’s new moon.
In any case, you’re looking in particular for asteroid 324 Bamberga, which is one of the 20 largest and tenth-brightest asteroids in the main belt. Apart from the asteroid Eros, 324 Bamberga was the last asteroid to be discovered which is ever easily visible with binoculars – meaning you can use binoculars today to see it in the night sky. Use a star-finder app to aid your exploration and admire this large solar system object.
November 28: Peak of the November Orionids Meteor Shower
Everyone gets excited about the October Orionids – did you know there’s another Orionids shower in November? While it runs from November 13th to December 6th, the shower is expected to have peak activity on the night of November 28th. This isn’t a particularly active shower (like the October Orionids or any others this month) and the maximum ZHR is expected to be 3 per hour.
To spot these meteors, look in the general area of the constellation Orion. You don’t need to look right at the radiant point to spot them; instead sweep your eyes through that area of the sky.
November 29: Asteroid 30 Urania at Opposition
November rounds out with one final asteroid-spotting opportunity. Asteroid 30 Urania was the last asteroid discovered by astronomer John Russell Hind – who also discovered 27 Euterpe, visible at opposition earlier this month. It was named after the Greek Muse of astronomy.
What makes 30 Urania fascinating is its unusual shape; if you’re able to spot it using your telescope or high-powered astronomy binoculars, you’ll see its triangular shape brightly illuminated thanks to its position at opposition.
Have other questions about these astronomical events in the November night sky or how to see them? Let me know in the comments!