The Full Beaver Moon comes Sunday, brightening the sky and unfortunately making the Leonid meteor shower’s peak and Comet ISON more difficult to see.
The moon will be full at 10:16 a.m. EST Sunday, which actually means Saturday night’s moon will appear the closest to full.
The moon gets its name from the fact that November was the time of year fur trappers set their snares, before swamps froze, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. November’s full moon is also known as the Frosty Moon.
This month’s full moon unfortunately coincides with two other sky watching opportunities,the Leonid meteor showers and the comet ISON.
The Leonid meteor showers, which appear to emanate from the constellation Leo, peak Sunday. Debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle’s debris can produce up to 15 meteors per hour, best seen in the hours just before dawn, according to Astronomy magazine.
The Leonids have produced in the past some of best shows of all of the meteor showers. In 1966, for instance, THOUSANDS of meteors per MINUTE were seen over a 15-minute period of time on the morning of November 17th.
According to the EarthSky article EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2013 people watching the shower said it felt like the meteors fell “like rain”.
And, “Some who witnessed the 1966 Leonid meteor storm said they felt as if they needed to grip the ground, so strong was the impression of Earth plowing along through space, fording the meteoroid stream.” (One wonders, considering it was the sixties, whether the observers were under the influence of hallucinogens!)
Comet ISON meanwhile could be visible in the early morning using binoculars by looking to the southeast horizon near the bright star Spica, part of the constellation Virgo, according to EarthSky.org.
The moon sets at 5:46 a.m. Sunday and 6:44 a.m. Monday, while the sun rises shortly before 7 a.m., so Sunday could be your best bet for early morning sky watching.
- Weekend “Beaver” Moon to dull Leonid meteor shower; comet ISON emerging? (washingtonpost.com)
- Leonid Meteor Shower Tonight! Don’t Miss The 2013 Meteor Shower Leonid 11/16/2013 (americanlivewire.com)
- Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend: How to See It (space.com)
- Stargazers Preparing For Leonid Meteor Shower This Weekend (dfw.cbslocal.com)
- Clouds may block our view of three wonders in the sky this weekend (wtkr.com)