Moon Phases

November full moon and Jupiter this weekend

White disk of full moon, near a white dot (Jupiter), all enclosed by a large misty halo.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Roberto Adam in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, caught the November 23, 2023, moon – nearly full and near the planet Jupiter – with a 22-degree halo around it! We got several photos at EarthSky Community Photos of last night’s moon with a halo from people in the U.S. East. Thank you, Roberto, and all who submitted photos!

The crest of the November 2023 full moon will fall at 3:16 a.m. CT (9:16 UTC) on Monday, November 27. So – for the Americas – the fullest moon will come overnight on Sunday, November 26. And the fullest moon for Asia will fall on November 27. But all of us will see a bright, nearly full moon this weekend. As a bonus, this weekend’s moon is near the bright planet Jupiter in the night sky.

On the night of full moon – November 26-27 – the bright, round full moon will be climbing in the east, as night falls. And we’ll all find the moon on both Sunday and Monday nights glowing high in the south near midnight and dropping low in the west near sunrise before dawn.

Full-moon is a whole-Earth event. And every full moon is opposite the sun, rising when the sun sets and setting when the sun rises. At full moon, the sun, Earth, and moon form a line in space, with Earth in the middle. It’s at this time that the moon’s fully lighted hemisphere – its day side – faces Earth most directly.

And Jupiter? It’s no accident this mighty planet is near this month’s full moon. Earth passed between Jupiter and the sun in November 2023. A full moon is opposite the sun. And Jupiter was opposite the sun last month, at its opposition. So, as Earth and mighty Jupiter have moved on in their orbits around the sun, Jupiter is still nearly opposite the sun as seen from Earth. So Jupiter and this weekend’s full moon appear together in the sky.

The 2024 lunar calendars are here! Best Christmas gifts in the universe! Check ’em out here.

White dots for the moon over 2 days and Jupiter in November along a green ecliptic line.
Maybe you saw Jupiter near the bright moon last night, November 23? They’ll be even closer tonight, and near each other throughout this weekend. You’ll find the pair – the 2 brightest objects in our evening sky – well up in the east at sunset. They’ll illuminate the sky all evening, not setting until the wee hours, several hours after midnight. Chart via EarthSky.
November full moon: A white big circle for the moon, a smaller white circle for Jupiter at top right, a smaller red circle for Aldebaran at the bottom, and a few small dots right over the moon.
The November full moon will fall on November 26-27, 2023. The blazing planet Jupiter – biggest world in our solar system – will lie nearby, as will red star Aldebaran, Eye of the Bull in Taurus. And, if you look closely, you might also find the tiny Pleiades star cluster – aka the 7 Sisters – in the moon’s glare. The moon will sweep only about a degree – or 2 full moons side-by-side – from the Pleiades on this night. Try watching for the Pleiades with your binoculars. Start looking in evening twilight, when the moon’s glare will be less intense. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

November full moon is Beaver or Frosty Moon

All the full moons have popular nicknames. If the full moon in November falls before November 7, it’s called the Hunter’s Moon.

Otherwise, as in 2023, you can call November’s full moon the Beaver Moon, or Frosty Moon. In November, North American beavers are preparing their dens – and stocking up on food – for the coming cold months.

We also hear the name Digging Moon for this November full moon, because of the last chances for seasonal foraging by forest animals.

The moon’s path across the sky

In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun travels across the southern sky each day in a short, low arc. So the full moon, being opposite the sun in the sky, travels in a long, high arc across the night sky. Now consider the moon’s path six months ago or six months from now. A May full moon travels in a short, low arc, while the May sun moves in a long, high arc. See? At full moon, the sun and moon are opposite each other in space.

Sun, with orbits of Earth and moon, showing moon on opposite side of Earth from the sun.
At full moon, the sun, Earth, and moon are lined up in space, with Earth in the middle. The moon’s day side – its fully lighted hemisphere – faces us. So we see a “full” moon. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

Why is the full moon so bright?

All full moons are bright. And their strong glow lightens the sky enough to blot out all but the bright planets and brightest of stars.

There are two major reasons the full moon is so bright. First and most obviously, a full moon isn’t a point of light, like a star or a planet. It covers a much-larger area of our sky, and so reflects more of the sun’s intense light. But secondly, and most importantly, the sun is so bright. It’s some 400,000 times that of the moon. And moonlight is just reflected sunlight. So the moon isn’t really bright in and of itself. In fact, the moon’s surface has a relatively low reflectivity, similar to that of asphalt.

If the moon had a reflectivity matching that of snow, the full moon would be over five times brighter!

2 images comparing the arcs that the sun and the moon do in May and November. The arc is higher for the sun in May, and for the moon in November. It is lower for the sun in November and the moon in May.
The high arc across the sky of the late November full moon closely matches that of the May sun. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

November full moon in Taurus

The November full moon can lie in front of one of three constellations of the zodiac. Most years, as it does this year, it falls in Taurus the Bull. But it can also be in Aries the Ram as it will be in 2025.

Very infrequently, November’s full moon lies in the sprawling constellation just southwest of Taurus, called Cetus the Whale.

The moon is roundest on the day that it’s full. But the day before and after, it appears almost, but not quite round and full in our sky.

Earth and orbit of the moon in 2 positions, one closer to Earth and other farther. A red dot for Aldebaran to the left and a white dot for Jupiter to the right.
The November 2023 full moon will occur on the overnight of November 26 and will lie in the constellation Taurus. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

Bottom line: The November full moon will fall overnight on November 26-27, 2023. Bright Jupiter will be nearby. And the Pleiades star cluster will lie in the moon’s glare.

November 24, 2023
Moon Phases

Like what you read?
Subscribe and receive daily news delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will only be used for EarthSky content. Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More from 

John Jardine Goss

View All