November new moon 2022: A young moon passes Saturn

Thin crescent moon rising above a beach at sunset.
The new moon occurs on November 23, at 5:57 p.m. EST. Here, a young crescent moon rises above a beach. (Image credit: Leon Tang via Getty Images)

The new moon occurs on November 23, at 5:57 p.m. EST (2257 GMT), according to the U.S. Naval Observatory (opens in new tab), about six days ahead of a close approach between the moon and Saturn. 

New moons happen when the moon is directly between the sun and Earth. About every 29.5 days the two bodies are lined up in the sky along the same line of celestial longitude. Celestial longitude is a projection of the Earth's longitude lines on the celestial sphere; when two bodies share the same longitude that is called a conjunction. If one draws a line from Polaris, the North Star due south toward the sun, that line also hits the moon — if one could see both the sun and Moon at the same time, the sun would appear (from mid-northern latitudes) to be directly "above" the moon. 

Since the moon is right next to the sun, one can't see a new moon unless it passes directly in front of it, creating a solar eclipse. This New Moon won't be creating any eclipses — that will have to wait until April 23, 2023, and will be visible from northwestern Australia and parts of southeastern Asia.

Related: Night sky, November 2022: What you can see tonight [maps]

The moon will reach perigee two days after the new moon, at 8:31 p.m. EST on November 25, according to Astropixels.com (opens in new tab). The moon is a mean distance of 382,500 kilometers (238,855 miles) from the Earth, but the orbit of the moon isn't a perfect circle. On November 25 the moon will be only 362,826 kilometers (225,449 miles) away.  

Visible (and invisible) planets

On the night of the November new moon, the sun sets in New York at 4:32 p.m. local time. With the sun setting relatively early, by 6:00 p.m. one will be able to see Jupiter and Saturn in the southern sky, with Saturn further west (to one's right as one faces due south). Jupiter will be in the southeast. Saturn sets first, at 10:19 p.m. and Jupiter after midnight, at 1:38 a.m. on Nov. 24. Jupiter will be about 45 degrees high, and Saturn about 29 degrees, with Jupiter the brighter of the two. The planets form a rough right triangle with the star Fomalhaut, the brightest star of Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish (imagine the 90-degree angle of the triangle at Fomalhaut, with the right leg pointing to Saturn and the left pointing to Jupiter). 

At 11:40 p.m. Eastern Time on Nov. 28, the Moon and Saturn will be in conjunction, so from New York City they will appear close in the sky; though the actual moment of conjunction won't be visible, as the moon sets at 9:32 p.m. (opens in new tab) in New York. By about 7 p.m. the six-day-old moon will appear just below Saturn in the southwest. If one is observing from further west — Denver, for example — one will see the conjunction, which is at 9:40 p.m., as the moon sets there at 9:32 p.m. (opens in new tab) local time. 

For Southern Hemisphere observers, the Moon will look as though it is above Saturn since the sky is "upside down" from that point of view. In Melbourne, Australia, for example, the conjunction happens at 3:40 p.m. Australian Eastern Daylight Time (opens in new tab) on November 29. The sun sets at 8:24 p.m. local time, and by 9:30 p.m. one will see the crescent moon high in the west (about 46 degrees high) with Saturn at 42 degrees and just to the right. 

The moon will reach its new phase on Wednesday, November 23 at 5:57 p.m. EST, 2:57 p.m. PST, or 22:57 GMT. At that time our natural satellite will be located in Scorpius, 2.3 degrees south of the sun. (Image credit: Chris Vaughan)
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In New York (and cities of similar latitude) Mars rises at about 5:29 p.m., and it gets high enough to see easily by about 6:30 p.m. Mars can be spotted by its distinctive reddish hue. From mid-northern latitudes the planet will appear to rise just north of east. To the planet's right (towards the south) another reddish-orange light will appear — Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus, the Bull. You can tell the two apart because Mars won't twinkle, whereas Aldebaran, like all stars, will. Another way is to look just to the left of Mars, for the bright star Capella, the alpha star of Auriga the Charioteer. Capella shines with a yellowish-white light. 

Venus and Mercury will be in the southwestern sky, as evening stars, but both are still effectively lost in the solar glare. The two will become more visible towards the end of the year. 

Southern Hemisphere sky watchers will see Mars, Jupiter and Saturn higher in the sky; while the sun sets later (as we approach the austral summer months) the increased altitude means they are visible longer. In Melbourne, where the new moon is on Nov. 24 at 9:57 a.m. local time, the sun will set at 8:19 p.m. By about 9:30 Saturn will be near due west at an altitude of about 45 degrees, with Jupiter to the right (towards the north) and higher, at about 53 degrees. As in the Northern Hemisphere one will see a triangle with Fomalhaut, but from southern latitudes the star will be above both planets, forming the apex of the triangle. 

Mars, meanwhile, will rise at 9:49 p.m. local time in the northeast; by about 11:30 p.m. it will be high enough to see easily. It reaches its highest altitude — about 27 degrees — at 2:29 a.m. local time. 

Stars and constellations

November is when the winter constellations of the Northern Hemisphere become more prominent in the late evening and early morning hours; it's the time of year when Orion, Taurus and Gemini, to name three, are visible essentially all night long. By 8:00 p.m. in mid-northern latitudes in the northeast one can see Capella, the brightest star in Auriga the Charioteer, getting higher each day. Just south of Auriga is Taurus, the bull, and from a dark sky location, one can see the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters making a rough triangle with Capella and Aldebaran. 

Above Auriga is Perseus, the legendary hero. By 9 p.m. Orion's belt is above the horizon and one can see the three stars — Alnilam, Alnitak, and Mintaka, going from east to west. Gemini has also risen fully above the horizon by then, and at about 11 p.m. Canis Major, the Big Dog, which contains the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, is clearing the southeastern horizon. 

A lonely stargazer looks up at the constellation of Orion, the hunter — and its dimming star Betelgeuse — in this photo captured from Portugal's Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve.  (Image credit: Miguel Claro)
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(Image credit: Celestron)

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In the Southern Hemisphere, sky watchers will see the nights getting shorter — November is late spring there; in Buenos Aires, the sun sets at about 7:44 p.m. on November 23, while in Wellington, New Zealand, it sets at 8:44 p.m. (The time varies depending on just how far south one is). By about 10:00 p.m. Near the northwestern horizon one will see Pegasus, with Andromeda toward the north. From Melbourne, low in the south, one will see Alpha Centauri and the Southern Cross, the latter pointed "down" towards the horizon. 

Towards the eastern half of the sky, one of the three constellations that make up the ship, Carina, will be above the horizon by 10 p.m., and with it, Canopus, its brightest star. By that time the other two parts of the ship, Puppis, and Vela are rising as well. Much higher — about 70 degrees in the southeast — is Achernar, which marks the end of Eridanus, the River. Northern sky watchers see the start of the river near the feet of Orion, but as one moves south the rest of the constellation becomes visible. 

Editor's Note: If you snap an amazing picture of the new moon and would like to share it with Space.com's readers, send your photos, comments, and your name and location to spacephotos@space.com.

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Jesse Emspak
Space.com Contributor

Jesse Emspak is a freelance journalist who has contributed to several publications, including Space.com, Scientific American, New Scientist, Smithsonian.com and Undark. He focuses on physics and cool technologies but has been known to write about the odder stories of human health and science as it relates to culture. Jesse has a Master of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Rochester. Jesse spent years covering finance and cut his teeth at local newspapers, working local politics and police beats. Jesse likes to stay active and holds a fourth degree black belt in Karate, which just means he now knows how much he has to learn and the importance of good teaching.