Full Snow Moon rises this afternoon, winter stars follow, planets delight
November 30, 2020 at 7:25pm. Orion rises earlier every night going forward, e.g. 6pm on the 13th. Red arc represents the Milky Way. Image: Judy Isacoff/StarryNight
The Full Snow Moon rises above the east-northeast horizon this afternoon at 4:48pm, nearly simultaneous with sunset in the southwest at 4:29pm. See moonrise about an hour later every evening and sunset remaining within seconds of 4:29pm until the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21.
Mornings, awake to the intriguing spectacle of moonset in the west-northwest as the Sun rises in the southeast. Tomorrow, December 1, sunrise is at 7:01am, while the great orb of the moon will be visible in the daylight blue sky until 8:08am. See the moon higher and longer in the morning sky – in waning gibbous phase – everyday this week. The Sun rises about a minute later everyday through the 26th: Sunrise is at 7:12 on 13th.
During the long nights that precede the arrival of astronomical winter on December 21, we have the opportunity to observe the celestial harbinger of the new season, the constellation Orion, in both the darkness of night and pre-dawn sky. See the sky view diagram, above, that shows the figure of Orion rising into the nighttime sky within a few hours of sunset and, in the diagram below, the iconic constellation setting in the pre-dawn sky. For best viewing of the diagrams, increase light on computer screen.
Morning sky one-hour before sunrise on December 1, 2020 and similar through the 13th. The phase and position of the moon changes. Orion, Sirius and Taurus set about an hour earlier, about 5am. Illustration by Judy Isacoff/StarryNight
Glancing back to the diagram of the evening sky, notice rusty gold Mars in the southeast midway between the rising moon in the east and Saturn and Jupiter in the southwest. Jupiter sets at 7:45 this evening, close to 7pm on the 13th. Saturn follows Jupiter. Observe these planets as they appear closer to each other every night.