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Hunter’s Moon obscures S. Taurid meteors

Tonight – November 4-5, 2017 – the drenching moonlight from the Hunter’s Moon will obscure the expected peak night for the South Taurid meteor shower. Look for the bright full-looking moon, the 2nd-largest full moon of 2017, to rise in the east around dusk or early evening, and then to stay out all night long.

November 2017 full moon a supermoon?

Any full moon rises in the east at or near the time of sunset. On the average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each following day.

For the Northern Hemisphere: It’s Hunter’s Moon time. That means there’s a somewhat shorter-than-usual time between successive moonrises for the next few nights.

For the Southern Hemisphere: This November full moon is a springtime full moon. For you, there’s a somewhat longer-than-usual time between successive moonrises for these next few nights.

From either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, though, tonight’s full-looking moon will coincide with the peak night of the South Taurid shower. In general, the South Taurids offer about 5 meteors per hour at and near their peak. However, the North Taurid shower adds a few more meteors to the mix. Although a modest shower, we can always hope to see a Taurid fireball or two, even in the light of the full or almost-full moon.

If you trace all the Taurid meteors backward, you’d see that these meteors appear to come from the constellation Taurus the Bull. Tonight’s brilliant moon will make it easy to locate the constellation Taurus, but difficult to see the South Taurid meteors on their peak night in 2017.

Normally, it’s difficult to know when the Hunter’s Moon – or any moon – turns precisely full, just by looking at it. Each month, the moon appears full to the eye for several nights in a row. The full moon actually falls on November 4 at 5:23 UTC; translate to your time zone here. For North American time zones, the moon turns precisely full on November 4 at 1:23 a.m. EDT, 12:23 a.m. CDT or on November 3 to the west of the Central Time zone, at 11:23 p.m. MDT and 10:23 p.m. PDT.

So the exact time of full moon might have passed, by the time you read this post.

But no matter where you live on Earth, look for a bright full-looking moon to rise in the east at dusk or early evening on November 4.

Hunter’s Moon collage – top of post – is by our friend Kausor Khan in India.

If you’re game, try watching for some Taurid meteors or fireballs, despite tonight’s moonlit glare. The Taurid meteors tend to rain down most prolifically around the midnight hour, or possibly somewhat after, around which time the full-looking moon will be highest up for the night.

Read more: Taurid fireballs this weekend?

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Bruce McClure