November Starwatch

by Deane Morrison

November brings one of the roundest rising moons any of us will ever see. On the evening of the 25th, the moon rises within a half hour of the instant of perfect fullness, which comes at 4:44 p.m. In some places, moonrise and perfect fullness coincide. And with the moon just two days past perigee—its closest approach to Earth in a cycle—it will be one of the bigger ones, so try not to miss it.

This is the full beaver moon, named for the industrious rodents now preparing their lodges for winter. But their namesake moon is also busy. The next morning, it occults the bright star Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the bull. The star disappears behind the moon at 4:35 a.m. (Twin Cities time) and reappears below the moon 50 minutes later. If you want to watch it, consider putting out a reclining chair with a clear view of the western sky. And because both the disappearance and the reappearance take but an instant, this is a clear case of “don’t blink or you’ll miss it.”

The first two weeks of November offer at least a few moon-free hours for enjoying the evening stars. Go out right after nightfall to catch Capricornus, a chevron-shaped constellation, in the southwest before it sets. Moving northeast, look for spidery Aquarius, then the Circlet of Pisces, and above it the Great Square of Pegasus, high in the south.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

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