Podcaster: Rob Webb

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Title: Observing With Webb in November 2021

Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School

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follow me : @MrWebbPV on Twitter and Instagram

This podcast is found on: Podbean page, Stitcher, and iTunes.  There’s also a video version on YouTube Channel.

The Pequea Valley Planetarium and its events and updates are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @pvplanetarium.


Why get out there at night in November?  It’s Lunar Eclipse Month! Well, partially…   Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are rocking the sunsets, we technically have a meteor shower, turkey day night will be awesome, and, most importantly, we can witness an almost total lunar eclipse.

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Why get out there at night in November?  It’s Lunar Eclipse Month! Well, partially…   Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are rocking the sunsets, we technically have a meteor shower, turkey day night will be awesome, and, most importantly, we can witness an almost total lunar eclipse.

         Welcome to Observing With Webb, where a high school astronomy teacher tells you what you’re looking at, why it’s so cool, and what you should check out later this month…at night. 

Naked-eye PLANETS

Sunset – Venus, Saturn, Jupiter

  • Venus (SW) – Once again, staying about 10˚ above the horizon all month, Venus is a glorious sight for those looking West after sunset.  Venus sets around 8:30pm.
  • Saturn, Jupiter (S) – Throughout November, Saturn and Jupiter will appear in the South right as it gets dark.  Excitingly, they move closer and closer to Venus in the SW until they are almost equally separated by the 30th.  Jupiter will be the bright point of light on the left, with Saturn about 15˚ to the right.    In the beginning of the month Saturn sets at midnight, with Jupiter trailing at 1am.  By the end of the month, Saturn and Jupiter set in the SW at about 10pm and 11:30pm, respectively.

Throughout the night – None

Morning – None


Morning Crescents (look East in the AM)

New Moon – 4th (darkest skies)

Evening Crescents (look West after Sunset)

First Quarter Moon – 11th (Visible until midnight)

Evening Gibbous (Mostly lit, after Sunset)

Full Moon – 19th (Visible all night)

Waning Gibbous (Mostly lit, rises later at night)

Last Quarter Moon – 27th (Visible from midnight into the morning)

2nd – 3rdClose Encounter – Moon, Mercury – Even though this would be a tough find, maybe you’ll get lucky.  Look ESE after 6:30am, but before sunrise.  You might catch a glimpse of a VERY thin crescent Moon VERY low on the horizon.  If you’re even luckier, you’ll see Mercury just 3˚ (pinky-widths held at arm’s length) below it.  In this moment you are looking at two objects in the solar system that, when shown up-close pictures, are often confused for each other.

7thDaylight Savings Time Ends

7th – 12thClose Encounter – Moon, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter – What a great week of encounters!  Imagine the planetary setup.  Venus is low in the SW, but SUPER bright and easy to find.  Hold your fist out in front of you with your pinky and pointer fingers extended, and move three of these widths (15˚ each) up and to the left and you’ll find the pretty darn bright planet Jupiter (the brightest part of that area of the sky).  If you backtrack 1/3 of the way toward Venus, you’ll find the modestly bright Saturn.  But starting on the 7th, a very thin crescent Moon joins this party.  On the 7th, the Moon is all the way to right of them, just 4˚ to the right of Venus.   Each night the Moon will move to the left 13˚, and get a bit thicker.  Hence, on the 8th, it will be between Venus and Saturn, but closer to Venus.  On the 9th, still in between, but closer to Saturn.  Then on the 10th, the Moon moves to about 5˚ below and to the left of Saturn.  On the 11th 5˚ below and to the left of Jupiter, and now a First Quarter Moon.  Finally, on the 12th, the Moon starts migrating away from our bright planets, being 15˚ away from Jupiter.

17thLeonid Meteor Shower – This annual, weak (10-15 per hour), meteor shower can have some wonderful years. This is not one of them Why? We essentially have an almost Full Moon, so there’s far too much light pollution interfering with our observing.  That said, you never know when a nice meteor will burn up, to take a nice look at the sky in general, noting that the meteors will appear to go from the radiant in the head of Leo and outward.

19thPartial Lunar Eclipse (almost Total) – This one snuck up on me! 97% of the Moon’s surface will be in the shadow of the Earth at the deepest part of this eclipse, making it a partial lunar eclipse, meaning that 3% of the Moon (just a sliver) will be lit up, while the rest is somewhere between a dark yellow and brown.  North America can pretty much see all of it, with the rest of the world seeing only portions.  Here’s the game plan:

           2:18am EST – Partial Eclipse Begins – Just look West-ish to find the Full Moon, and watch as the Earth’s shadow appears to nibble on the Moon from the top down, but a little off-center to the right. It will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach maximum eclipse. (You might hear that the penumbral portion of the eclipse starts before this.  While true, it is essentially undetectable with the naked eye.)

           4:04am EST – Maximum Eclipse – 97% of the surface is in the shadow of the Earth.  With your naked eye, you should easily be able to see the bright portion lit up on the left, with the rest ranging from dark yellow to brown.  With a camera, these distinctions are harder to pick up. For the next roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes, the shadow appears to move down and away from the Moon.

           5:47am EST – Partial Eclipse Ends

        Other things to notice during the eclipse

  • As the Moon gets darker, more and more stars will be visible
  • The Pleiades are up and to the right of the Moon
  • Taurus is up and to the left of the Moon
  • Orion is off to the left of Taurus
  • If you’re in the Eastern U.S., the Moon will finish at about 15˚ above the horizon, leaving some room for good foreground objects in pictures

25th – Thanksgiving – After feasting on food, feast your eyes on the sky:  Venus will be super bright low in the SW after sunset until about 7pm., with Saturn and Jupiter up higher and longer (9:30pm and 10:50pm set times).  Definitely worth a good look through the telescope.  At about 9pm the Waning Gibbous Moon will rise in the ENE, joining the Fall and Winter constellations of Pegasus, Andromeda, Taurus, Orion, and Gemini.  With the corn all cut down, watching the Moon rise and turn orange to white amidst the stars will be truly enjoyable.


Use a sky map from to help you out.

After Dinner:

Pegasus & Andromeda -Look pretty much straight up you’ll be able to see the Great Square of Pegasus, with Andromeda curving off of one corner. If your skies are decently dark, you might catch the faint fuzz that is the Andromeda Galaxy.

Before Bed:

Andromeda, Perseus, Triangulum, Aries – Find Pegasus off to the West a little bit to find the cornucopia shaped Andromeda again. Keep following the cornucopia shape to find Perseus, which has kind of a similar shape, except opening up toward the southern horizon and the Pleiades.  Below Perseus and Andromeda will be Triangulum, a small thin triangle, and Aries the Ram, which looks more like a curved walking cane on its side.

Before Work:Orion – Look southwest to find the vertical bow-tie that is Orion the Hunter

End of podcast:

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