What to See in the Night Sky for November 2022

From dueling meteor showers to a blood-red lunar eclipse, this month's cooler evenings are hot with celestial events.

rooster weather vane with blood moon

Lilly / Getty Images

As October winds down, it takes with it spooky pumpkins, fall leaves, and the hope of any remaining warm weather, so it's time to bundle up and turn our attention to the crisp month of November. What can we expect from the night sky during our transition to winter? Grab a cup of hot cider, shake out that scarf, and let's look at a few of the highlights.

A Nearly Half-Mile-Wide Asteroid Makes a Close Pass (Nov. 1)

First things first, you can continue making plans for Thanksgiving. Asteroid 2022 RM4 will not hit Earth and will pass us by roughly 6 lunar distances (or 1.4 million miles) away. That said, this is a relatively close shave by astronomical standards.

Even more disconcerting, 2022 RM4 was only discovered by the Pan-STARRS 2 telescope in Hawaii on September 12 and is estimated to be nearly a half-mile wide. If such a rock hit Earth, it’s estimated that it would release (depending on composition) the energy akin to 100 billion tons of TNT. The largest nuclear weapon ever detonated was equivalent to a little over 50 million tons of TNT.

How to celebrate this good fortune? According to EarthSky, large amateur telescopes or observatories should be able to sneak a peek at 2022 RM4 as it glides by on November 1. Catch ya later, terrifying space rock.

Gain an Extra Hour With the End of Daylight Saving Time (Nov. 6)

Yes, Daylight Saving Time is believed by many to be an outdated and terribly inconvenient idea. But if you want to put a positive spin on the upcoming "fallback" slated for much of the United States on November 6 at 2 a.m. EDT, how about an extra hour of sleeping—or stargazing?

The return of Standard Time means the sun will rise a little earlier, which is good news for early birds, but not so great if you like to see the sun when you leave the office for the day. We know it's not as sexy as an extra hour of sleep, but perhaps we can tempt you with a haunting blood moon total eclipse?

Witness a Total Lunar Eclipse and a 'Frosty' Full Blood Moon (Nov. 8)

This month’s full moon, also called the “frost moon,” reaches its peak on the morning of Nov. 8 at 6:02 a.m. EDT and includes a total lunar eclipse. Fitting for something nicknamed the “blood moon,” this total lunar eclipse, the second of 2022, will occur in the deep of night.

Starting at about 3 a.m. on the east coast, the Earth’s shadow will begin to creep slowly across the moon’s surface, reaching peak eclipse around 6 a.m. At this point, the moon will glow an eerie reddish color, with 100% of its surface fully eclipsed by Earth’s shadow.

"Lunar eclipses ... reflect our world," astronomer and podcaster Pamela Gay tells Space.com. "A blood colored moon is created [by] ash from fires and volcanoes ... dust storms and pollution all filtering sunlight as it scatters around our world.”

Uranus at Opposition (Nov. 9)

The seventh planet from the sun and roughly four times larger than Earth, Uranus will reach its yearly opposition on November 9. That evening, it will be at its biggest and brightest for the year, though bright light from the full moon will spoil any chances for spying it unaided. Train your binoculars or telescope on the constellation Aries the Ram all night long to see if you can spot this icy blue giant

Catch a Potential Outburst From the Taurids Meteor Shower (Nov. 11-12)

This month is full of night sky doubleheaders. First up are the spectacular Taurid fireballs, also known as the "Halloween fireballs" to some shooting star enthusiasts. Though the showers last from roughly October 13 to December 2, the best time to catch them in all their fiery action is the evening of November 11-12.

The shower, remnants from the comet Encke, is known less for its volume of shooting stars and more for how exceptionally bright they are. (See the video above for some examples.) This year is reportedly slated to be a good one, with the American Meteor Society noting a bump in the number of fireballs every seven years: "2008 and 2015 both produced remarkable fireball activity," they note. "2022 may be the next opportunity."

Brighter and more frequent fireballs is a good thing, since the mostly (88%) full moon will do everything in its illuminating power to spoil all but the most spectacular Taurids.

Welcome Back Orion the Hunter (Mid-Nov.)

Hidden below the horizon since the start of summer, the classic constellation "Orion the Hunter" will make its return to the colder night skies this month. One of the most recognizable constellations, ranking right up there with the Big and Little Dipper, Orion is easy to spot thanks to his "belt." It consists of three bright stars: Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka.

Orion’s right shoulder is represented by the star Betelgeuse, one of the brightest in the night sky and poised to deliver a future spectacle. According to scientists, Betelgeuse is a dying star which will experience a supernova explosion sometime over the next 10,000 years. When that happens, the light show will be seen from Earth, potentially even outshining the light of the full moon and visible during the day!

A Good Year for the Leonid Meteor Shower (Nov. 18)

Produced by dust streams left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, a periodic comet that will return to our inner solar system in 2031, the Leonids are a moderate meteor shower with a peak display of about 10-15 meteors per hour. The showers occur through most of November, but the night of peak activity this year is November 18—a good thing, too, since a waning crescent moon will keep skies relatively dark.

Astronomers are predicting a stronger-than-usual shower for 2022, with the potential for an outburst of upwards of 300 Leonids over the course of one hour. Like other meteor showers, this one will be best viewed after midnight. Turn your gaze toward the constellation Leo the Lion, where the shooting stars appear to emanate.

It's worth noting that the Leonids are responsible for some of the most spectacular meteor showers ever witnessed by humans. Every 33 years, which is the orbital period of the parent comet, Earth passes through young debris trails that can spark as many as 1,000 meteors per hour. The last one, in 2001, featured hundreds per hour. The one in 1966? Downright magical.

"Meteorites began to appear by 10:30 p.m.; there were about three or four every five minutes," recalled skywatcher Christine Downing, one of many who wrote in to NASA to share their experiences. "At the time that seemed extraordinary, but by 12:30 a.m. it was raining stars over the entire sky. We were in a dark, desert valley bowl, rimmed by mountains; the Sierras were in the west. By 2:00 a.m. it was a blizzard. There was the unnerving feeling that the mountains were being set on fire. Falling stars filled the entire sky to the horizon, yet it was silent. If these Leonids had been hail, we wouldn't have been able to hear each other. If they had been a show of fireworks, we would have been deaf."

Dark Skies Follow November's New Supermoon (Nov. 23) 

A new moon will bring excellent dark sky conditions, reaching its peak on November 23 at 5:57 PM EDT. Interestingly, this new moon is also a supermoon, so-called for when a full or new moon occurs during its closest approach to Earth. While full supermoons are a marvel to see rise into the night sky, this new supermoon will be invisible (owing to a new moon's passage between the Earth and sun) and will usher in several days of beautiful dark nights for other celestial events to shine.