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Sonoma County Gazette
The waxing gibbous moon
On the evening of November 15th, look for the waxing Gibbous moon.

The Waxing Gibbous Moon 

Oct 24, 2018
by Tre Gibbs


November begins with Saturn and Mars gracing our early evening skies, but by month’s end, Saturn begins its fateful sojourn into the glare of the setting sun, leaving only Mars to reign supreme in the early evening sky.

Sagittarius - The ArcherEarly in the month, and just after sunset, look for Mars (in Aquarius The Water Bearer) high in the south, while Saturn, much fainter, appears lower in the southwest, and still hanging out in the constellation Sagittarius The Archer.  As Earth continues its axial spin, the planets (and everything else in the sky for that matter) will slip further west rather quickly, so don’t wait to view these wandering “stars”, or you will miss them!  By month’s end, as Earth continues its 365-day solar orbit – moving faster around the sun than Mars does – Mars will appear further west in the sky at sunset than it did in the beginning of the month and will continue to move further west and become more and more faint as Earth continues to speed away from it.

Venus, which was gracing our early evening skies earlier this year, is now on the other side of the sun, and appears late in the month above the eastern horizon just prior to sunrise.  For early risers, look for brilliant Venus just above the east southeastern horizon around 5:30 am toward month’s end.

The Full Moon for November is The Full Beaver Moon, and it occurs on November 22nd at 9:39 pm PST.  Traditionally, November is the time of year when beavers are most active, preparing for the winter’s freeze.  As a result, it was a great time to hunt beavers in order to make certain there was enough fur to keep indigenous people warm during the cold winter months.

The moon travels the same narrow path in the sky as the sun and planets. And speaking of the moon…the moon travels the same narrow path in the sky as the sun and planets. The moon also takes one month (or moonth) to complete one orbit around Earth. Therefore, there are times during each month when the moon will travel the sky with each planet.  On the evening of November 11th, look for the moon slightly above and to the left to the planet Saturn, The God of Agriculture. Then, on the evening of November 15th, the moon has traveled east and pairs with The God of War, Mars. Look for the waxing Gibbous moon, which will be slightly bigger than half full, just below and to the right of the “Red Planet”.

Have a great month - and take some time to pause and look up.  There’s an incredible show going on overhead each and every night.



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