Note that all times mentioned below are in EST or EDT (it should be specified).

Nov. 8: Full moon/total lunar eclipse

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be fully illuminated. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Beaver Moon because this was the time of year to set the beaver traps before the swamps and rivers froze. It has also been known as the Frosty Moon and the Dark Moon. In addition, this full moon aligns with a total lunar eclipse. Locally, the penumbral eclipse begins at about 03:00 EST with totality beginning at 05:16 EST. See timeanddate.com for more information.

Nov. 9: Uranus at Opposition

The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. Look between Taurus and Aries. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.

Nov. 17/18: Leonid meteor shower

The Leonids are an average shower, generally producing up to 15 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower will run approximately from November 3 to December 2 and peaks on the night of the 17th/morning of the 18th. The Leonids are produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle which was discovered in 1865. Meteors can be seen to radiate from the constellation Leo in the East but can of course appear anywhere in the sky. The Leonids are unique in that they exhibit a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where hundreds or even thousands of meteors per hour can be seen (a meteor storm). The moon will be a relatively bright waning crescent and could drown out some of the fainter meteors this year. That being said, the Leonids can be unpredictable so there is still potential for a good show. The best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight on the night of the 17th/18th.

Nov. 23: New Moon

The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere. The Dark of the Moon viewing at the Fox will be on Nov. 26.


A note on observing meteor showers

There are an average of five or six random shooting stars ("sporadics") on any given night, and these will add to any meteors originating in a meteor shower. The particles (called meteoroids) that produce the streaks of incandescence (called meteors) appear to come from a point in a specific constellation (the radiant), but only because the Earth is moving into the stream of debris trailing behind the comet or asteroid that shed the particles.

Annual meteor showers are produced by sand grain sized particles with few larger pieces. Do not expect meteorites, the larger solid pieces of debris to drop down into a field near you; no meteor shower has been known to produce meteorites normally. Most meteorites found on the Earth’s surface are from larger, random pieces of space debris that encounter Earth.

Meteor observing requires no special equipment. Just relax on a recliner and keep warm with a blanket to ward off the chill and dew at night. Meteors appear all over the sky; the longer trails tend to appear farther from the radiant.

Observers in a dark location on meteor watch would like conditions to be perfect - no moonlight, radiant high in the sky and cooperative weather. The RASC handbook gives the zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) and assumes ideal conditions, so this is generally a maximum possible. Still, ZHR are predictions and outbursts do happen. Note that counts usually go up after midnight. If there is a group observing, useful information can be obtained about showers by simple counts over 20 minutes or so, logging every meteor seen all over the sky. A group of 3 to 4 observers is required to observe the entire sky but useful counts can also come from single observers facing the radiant.

Reports should be sent to the International Meteor Organization (IMO) or the American Meteor Society (AMS). Include the location, sky conditions, transparency, elevation of radiant along with the time and numbers. Useful report forms for showers as well as for reporting notable individual meteors (fireballs or bolides) are found on these websites.

Photography is also encouraged! This site provides hints on how: Imaging meteors. Another one from Sky&Telescope is here: S&T meteors imaging.