Watching the Skies: Moon passes by bright Mars


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new satellite launched into orbit last weekend with the goal of collecting data on global sea levels.

The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Satellite launched Saturday from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The satellite is roughly the size of a pickup truck and it hitched a ride on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The satellite will take observations and monitor global sea level for the next several years. The data it collects will also be useful in improving the accuracy of weather forecasts.

Back on Earth, we’ll be able to see the moon pass by Mars mid-week. Look up and southeast at nightfall to see the moon. Once you’ve spotted the moon, it will be easy to find Mars, which is very bright. It will be left of the moon Tuesday, just above the moon Wednesday and to the upper right of the moon Thursday.

The full moon will arrive early in the morning on Nov. 30. This full moon, the last of fall, is known as the Beaver Moon, the Frosty Moon and the Mourning Moon. It will rise in the east around sunset and set in the west around sunrise.

This full moon will also bring a penumbral eclipse. A penumbral eclipse is usually subtle but if you have good eyesight, you may be able to see a little bit of shading on the moon. About 82% of the moon will appear a shade darker. The best time to look is the eclipse’s peak around 4:45 a.m. Nov. 30.

The next time we see the full moon, it will be both meteorological and astronomical winter.

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