Skip to main content

Do look up to enjoy November’s space treats

What's Up: November 2022 Skywatching Tips from NASA

This month is an exciting one for skywatchers, with a total lunar eclipse, an enormous star, and a meteor shower three highlights to enjoy.

Total lunar eclipse

The total lunar eclipse — when Earth blocks all of the sun’s direct light from reaching the moon — takes place early on the morning of Tuesday, November 8, and will be visible to people in North America, the Pacific region, Australia, and East Asia.

Related Videos

Folks located in the Eastern time zone of the U.S. and Canada will have to crawl out of bed early to witness the celestial event, as it’ll begin just after 4 a.m ET.

The full eclipse will take place at about 5:15 a.m. ET, and after that, the moon will set with the eclipse continuing.

With the West Coast of North America three hours behind, the timings mean a late night on Monday as the eclipse will begin just after 1 a.m PT before reaching the full eclipse by around 2:15 a.m. PT.

Anyone with binoculars can enjoy a bonus event in the form of a view of the giant ice planet Uranus, which will be visible a mere finger’s width away from the eclipsed moon.

A view of the night sky featuring the moon and Uranus.


Spica is a giant star that has 10 times the mass of our sun while also being 12,000 times more luminous. “Fortunately for us, it’s located 260 light-years away,” NASA says.

Despite its vast distance from Earth, you can get a view of its light by gazing skyward in the hour before sunrise on Sunday, November 20. To spot it, look toward the southeast, locate what will be a slim crescent moon, and then look just below for the bright bluish star Spica.

Leonid meteor shower

The annual Leonid meteor shower comprises dusty bits of debris left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle as it orbits the sun.

It’s viewable throughout November, but the best time to take a look will be as it peaks after midnight on Friday, November 18.

NASA says you may be able to see as many as 20 meteors per hour streaking across the sky, but notes that the moon will be around 35% full that night so its light could interfere with your ability to see the fainter meteors.

However, it also says that Leonid meteors are often bright, with the streaks lasting several seconds, so there should still be plenty of viewable action.

To give yourself the best chance of spotting the Leonids, find a dark spot well away from any light pollution.

NASA advises: “While the moon will be rising in the east with Leo around midnight local time, it’s actually better to view the sky away from the meteors’ apparent point of origin, by lying back and looking straight upward, as any meteor trails you see will appear longer and more spectacular.”

If you want help identifying everything you see in the night sky, you can try one of these excellent astronomy apps for iPhone and Android.

Editors' Recommendations

Satellites like SpaceX’s Starlink are disrupting Hubble observations
The curving light streak created by an artificial satellite mars an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Astronomers are once again worried about the effect that satellites like those used by SpaceX for its Starlink service will have on scientific research. A recent study looked at the effect that such satellites were having on observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and found that observations were already being impacted by the number of satellites nearby.

Telescopes like Hubble are particularly vulnerable to interference from satellites because of their location, in an area called low-Earth orbit (LEO). At less than 1,200 miles above the Earth's surface, this region is prime real estate for both scientific projects like Hubble and the International Space Station and for commercial projects like satellite megaconstellations.  While there have been satellites in this region for many years, recently the number of satellites has been rising dramatically, especially due to projects like Starlink which rely on having thousands of satellites in orbit.

Read more
SpaceX Crew-6 astronauts arrive safely at space station
The space station crew all together following the arrival of SpaceX's Crew-6 in March 2023.

SpaceX's four Crew-6 members have safely boarded the International Space Station (ISS) following a voyage that lasted about 27 hours.

NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:34 a.m. ET on Thursday and reached the orbital outpost about 24 hours later.

Read more
NASA eyes weather for Thursday’s Crew-6 launch. Here’s how it’s looking
From left, NASA astronauts Warren “Woody” Hoburg and Stephen Bowen, along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev and UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, prepare to depart the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida during a dress rehearsal for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission launch on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.

NASA and SpaceX are making final preparations for its first crewed launch since October 2022.

The Crew-6 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:34 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 2 (9:34 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1).

Read more