Adler Skywatch: November 2021
Header Image: Total lunar eclipse seen in the United States on April 15th, 2014 in San Jose, California. Image Credit: NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day
Thanks to a lunar eclipse, you can watch the full Moon fade away and reappear within the space of a few hours this month, November 2021.
The eclipse occurs in the early morning darkness of the 19th. On this morning, the full Moon passes through Earth’s shadow, becoming over 95 percent eclipsed as viewed from the Chicago area. You may notice the very bright Moon starts to dim slightly several minutes after midnight Central Standard time. In Chicagoland, the eclipse’s partial phase begins at 1:18 a.m. and ends at 4:47 a.m., with maximum eclipse occurring at 3:02 a.m.
At maximum eclipse, almost all of the Moon is within the boundaries of the Earth’s darker umbral shadow, leaving only a thin sliver still in the Earth’s lighter penumbral shadow. What color will the Moon be at maximum eclipse? That’s hard to say. Lunar eclipses can take on a gray, orange, or reddish color. The Adler is broadcasting live on the 19th, starting at 1:30 a.m. CST, on the Sky Observers Hangout via the Adler’s YouTube channel. Our Astronomy Educators will be available in the wee hours to answer eclipse questions and offer sky-watching tips. Let’s hope for clear skies that morning.
This month the planet Venus shines brilliantly in the south-southwest shortly after sunset. The evening of the 7th, look for it just to the left of a very slim waxing crescent Moon. Venus sets in the southwest a little after 7 p.m. CST.
While Venus is in the south-southwest, the planets Jupiter and Saturn are up about 30 degrees high in the southerly skies this month. Jupiter is the brighter of the two, and Saturn is about 15 degrees to the right of Jupiter. The evening of the 10th, a nearly First-Quarter Moon is near Saturn; and the next evening, the 11th, the First-Quarter Moon is near Jupiter.
At the start of the month, Saturn appears about 40 degrees away from Venus in the early evening sky, with Jupiter about 55 degrees from Venus. The two gas-giant planets appear to move closer to Venus each night this month. By month’s end, Saturn and Venus appear less than 20 degrees apart. At the start of the month, Saturn sets about three hours after Venus, and about an hour and a half at the end of the month. Jupiter sets about an hour and a half after Saturn.
This month the rising Sun’s glare hides the planets Mars and Mercury, so they are difficult if not impossible to see.
New Moon: November 4
First Quarter Moon: November 11
Full Moon: November 19
Last Quarter Moon: November 27
To learn more about this month’s sky highlights, visit us on the web, at adlerplanetarium.org.
Please note that these descriptions are for the Chicago area, using Central time.
Subscribe To Skywatch Wednesday This November
Tour the night sky weekly with the Adler Planetarium’s Theaters Manager Nick, who uses cutting edge visualizations, NASA images, and astrophotography to show you what you can see in the night sky throughout the year.
Learn From Our Astronomy Educators
Watch exclusive live episodes of Sky Observers Hangout this November! On November 19 at 1:30 a.m. CDT, our astronomy educators will go live to answer your questions about eclipses, explain how lunar eclipses happen, and give you stargazing tips on where you can spot the last lunar eclipse of 2021 in your sky as it’s happening. If the weather permits, we’ll even show you live camera views of the eclipse. Don’t miss this very special Sky Observers Hangout!