Tonight – November 4-5, 2017 – if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll see another full-looking moon rise not long after sunset. People will call it a Hunter’s Moon. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, the full moon will come up much longer after sunset. From all of Earth, the drenching moonlight will interfere with 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 stay out all night long.
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 both the Northern or Southern Hemispheres, this large moon coincides with the South Taurid meteor shower peak. In general, the South Taurids offer about 5 meteors per hour at and near their peak. The North Taurid shower is also ongoing and adds a few more meteors to the mix. The Taurids are known for producing fireballs – or especially bright meteors – even in the light of the full or almost-full moon. Plus the Taurids – both North and South – are a long-lasting shower. You can watch for Taurid fireballs throughout November, long after the moon has waned.
But try watching tonight, too, if you’re game, 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?
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.
Mike Cohea – whose video is below – was in Newport, Rhode Island last night (November 3, 2017) when the full moon rose just as a cruise ship was passing … Nice timing, Mike!
Bottom line: The Northern Hemisphere’s Hunter’s Moon is bright and in the sky all night, making it tough to see the peak of the South Taurid meteor shower. Never fear. It’s a wide peak, and the shower produces many fireballs!
Bruce McClure has served as lead writer for EarthSky's popular Tonight pages since 2004. He's a sundial aficionado, whose love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and sailing in the North Atlantic, where he earned his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. He also writes and hosts public astronomy programs and planetarium programs in and around his home in upstate New York.