November night sky highlights: Jupiter on display, Leonid meteor shower peak

Here's a rundown of sky-gazing events to bookmark for November 2023, including the Leonid meteor shower.

Fall is in full swing with optimum star-gazing conditions across most of the U.S., and November offers a bevy of options this month to enjoy looking up at the night sky. 

Here's a rundown of sky-gazing events to bookmark for November 2023. 

Early November: Jupiter opposition

To start November, Jupiter aligns with the Sun and Earth, reaching what's known as opposition. This makes Jupiter appear at its biggest and brightest.

"Opposition occurs when the Sun, Earth and planet lie along a straight line with the Earth in the middle," Lowell Observatory astronomer Dr. Larry Wasserman said in a blog post. "Thus putting the Sun and planet on opposite sides of the Earth, hence the term ‘opposition.’ This means that the planet is as close to the Earth as possible and will appear as big and as bright as it can ever get. This is a great time to take a look and discover Jupiter in opposition for yourself."

Opposition happens on Nov. 3 just after midnight EST, on Nov. 2 at 10 p.m. MST and 9 p.m. PST. 

According to NASA, Jupiter opposition happens every 13 months. Last year, it happened at the end of September, during the closest approach to Earth since 1963.

Jupiter will be bright and easiest to spot until mid-December. With a bit of help from a telescope, you can spot Jupiter's most famous weather feature: The Great Red Spot

Nov. 18: Leonid meteor shower peak

Clear Fall sky gazing conditions continue for the Leonid meteor shower peak in mid-November.

Every year, between November and December, Earth passes through debris from comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, resulting in the Leonid meteor shower. Peak activity happens on Nov. 18 when up to 15 meteors per hour could be visible, moving up to 44 miles per second. 

Sky gazers hoping to spot a shooting star can step outside after midnight and settle in with a warm blanket in a dark location away from city lights. Add your location to the FOX Weather app to get a forecast for your viewing location, including cloud cover. 

If you aren't sure where to watch the meteor shower, the International Dark Sky Association has an interactive map listing dark-sky locations worldwide. 

Leonids radiate from the constellation Leo, but don't just look to the radiant to spot a meteor. According to NASA, it's best to look away from the radiant because meteors will appear longer and brighter. 

Nov 27: Beaver Moon

November's full Moon happens the morning of Nov. 27 and is known as the Beaver Moon. 

Peak illumination happens about 2 hours before sunrise on Nov. 27, but the Moon will appear bright and full the night before on Nov. 26. 


The full Beaver Moon gets its name because November is the time of year when beavers begin to shelter in their lodges for winter, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. The full moon has a number of different Native American names, including the Freezing and Frost Moon, fitting with the winter solstice approaching next month and meteorological winter on Dec. 1.

In December, the final full Moon of the year rises on Dec. 26.