2019, November 1-10: Sky Events, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and Moon


Before Sunrise

Look to the southeast, about one hour before sunrise for Mars.  It’s not bright but moving eastward among the stars of Virgo.  On November 1, it is to the lower right of the star Theta Virginis. Watch it move away from the star during the next few mornings. About 45 minutes before sunrise begin looking for Spica, the brightest star in VIrgo, low in the east-southeast. It is near its heliacal rising. What is the first day you can see it at this time interval without a binocular?

Around November 5, begin looking for Mars approaching the star Spica. By November 10 about one hour before sunrise, Mars, 10° up in the east-southeast, passes 2.8° to the upper left of Spica.

After Sunset

Brilliant Venus continues to slowly climb into the evening sky ahead of passing Jupiter later this month and Saturn in December.  Locate it in the southwest about 40 minutes after sunset.  It is low, so you’ll need a good view of the horizon.  On November 1, the crescent moon is near Saturn.  As the month progresses, the moon grows in phase and moves away from the bright evening planets.

The moon is at its First Quarter phase on November 4.

After the moon leaves the area of the planets it moves into dimmer star fields.

Share with us what you observe in the sky in our comments section.

Day-by-Day Semi-Technical Description of Events

(The daily notes were first published in the Observer, the Newsletter of the Twin Cities Amateur Astronomers.)

These notes describe events for each day:

  • November 1: In the morning, one hour before sunrise, Mars (m = 1.8), 7° up in the east-southeast, is 0.9° to the lower right of Theta Virginis (θ Vir, m = 4.4). Use a binocular to see this pair in the growing twilight. Today and for the next six days, Mars and Venus have the same solar elongations, 21°, November 1-3; and 22° November 4-7. Mars is west of the sun in the morning sky while Venus is east of the sun in the evening sky. About 45 minutes before sunrise, begin looking for Spica (α Vir, m = 1.0). During the daylight hours, the sun is in the sky for a few minutes less than 10.5 hours. There is more darkness, the time between the end of evening twilight and the start of morning twilight, than daylight. Thirty minutes after sunset, Venus (m = −3.8), 4° up in the west-southwest, is over 20° to the lower right of Jupiter (m = −1.9). Venus moves into Scorpius today, and the planet sets about an hour after sunset. Through a telescope, Venus is 11” across and 94% illuminated. While Scorpius is a large constellation, the section the ecliptic cuts through is short, only about 6.5° in length. Venus traverses the constellation in a week. Mercury (m = 0.7) is a challenge to locate. At this hour, it is near the horizon. It is the only naked eye planet not easily visible. One hour after sunset, Jupiter (m = −1.9) is 12° up in the southwest, 22° to the lower right of Saturn (m = 0.6), 22° up in the south-southwest. The crescent moon (4.8d, 26%), Saturn, and Nunki (σ Sgr, m = 2.8) – the star in the handle of the Teapot of Sagittarius – make a nice triangle. The separations: Moon – Saturn, 4.1°, moon to the lower right of Saturn; Moon – Nunki, 3°, moon to the upper right of the star. Saturn – Nunki, 4.5°, planet to the upper left of the star.
  • November 2: One hour before sunrise, Mars, 8° up in the east-southeast, is 1° to the lower right of Theta Virginis. In the evening sky, one hour after sunset, the crescent moon (5.8d, 36%) is over 8° to the left of Saturn. The moon is 23° up in the south-southwest.
  • November 3: Daylight Saving Time ends. Our clocks revert to standard time, but our time intervals in these daily notes remain the same when compared to sunrise or sunset. One hour after sunset, the moon (6.8d, 46%) is 26° up in the south. It is in western Capricornus, nearly 8° to the lower left of Beta Caprcorni (β Cap, m = 3.0). Use a binocular to see the star in the moon’s growing brightness as the moon moves through dimmer starfields.
  • November 4: The moon reaches its First Quarter phase at 4:23 a.m. CST. Thirty minutes after sunset, Venus, about 5° up in the southwest, is 1.5° to the lower left of Graffias (β Sco, m = 2.5). Use a binocular. Venus sets at Nautical Twilight, when the sun is 12° below the horizon. Tonight that’s 62 minutes after sunset. One hour after sunset, the moon (7.8d, 55%), 28° up in the south, is nearly 6° to the lower right of Delta Capricorni (δ Cap, m =2.8). While the moon approaches Pisces and it is not full, watch for the Harvest Moon effect. This occurs when the moon approaches coordinates 0 hour, Right Ascension and 0° declination (Vernal Equinox) and that point is low in the eastern sky. That point is to the lower left of a dozen 4th magnitude stars that make the western fish of Pisces. More specifically, it is about 3.5° to the lower left of Lambda Piscium (λ Psc, m = 4.6). At this time, the Vernal Equinox is about 30° up in the southeast. (The Vernal Equinox is the name of this point as well as the event when the sun’s apparent position is on these coordinates, signaling the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.) During the next several evenings the moon is farther east, but its altitude does not diminish much at the same time each evening. You don’t need a full moon to observe the effect that the moon approximately appears at the same altitude for a few evenings when the Vernal Equinox is low in the eastern sky and the moon is near that location.
  • November 5: One hour before sunrise, Mars, over 8° up in the east-southeast, is 4.2° to the upper left of Spica (α Vir, m = 1.0). (Have you seen Spica without optical assistance about 45 minutes before sunrise?) As the sky begins to darken, 30 minutes after sunset, Venus is 5° up in the southwest, over 19° to the lower right of Jupiter. Thirty minutes later, Saturn is 22° up in the south-southwest, over 21° to the upper left of Jupiter, 11° up in the southwest. Jupiter and Saturn continue moving eastward against the starry background. Jupiter is in southern Ophiuchus, and Saturn is in eastern Sagittarius. Farther east, the moon (8.8d, 65%), 29° up in the south-southeast, is nearly 7° to the lower left of Delta Capricorni. The moon is in western Aquarius this evening.
  • November 6: One hour before sunrise, Mars, over 8° up in the east-southeast, is 3.8° to the upper left of Spica. One hour after sunset, the moon (9.8d, 73%) is in eastern Aquarius, about 30° up in the southeast. It is nearly 18° to the upper left of Fomalhaut (α PsA, m =1.2). This star is not near the ecliptic, but with the moon in front of dimmer starfields, Fomalhaut serves as a distant marker for the passing of bright solar system objects. In The Friendly Stars, Martin and Menzel describe Fomalhaut’s unique place. “There is a calm dignity to this star that lends much interest to it. It comes gently into view far down in the southeast in August, but with so little of a flourish that one scarcely notes its presence until along in early September. Then, when the days are growing shorter, some evening, just after dark, one sees it, a conspicuous, impressive object serenely trailing along over the small arc of its circle in the south with no companion near it, and, apparently, no need of one to add to its splendor” (p. 45). In his Celestial Handbook, Burnham notes, “To the dwellers at the latitude of New York, it is the southern-most of the visible 1st magnitude stars” (p. 1485).
  • November 7: The moon is at apogee at 2:36 a.m. CST, 251,691 miles away. One hour before sunrise, Mars, nearly 9° up in the east-southeast, is 3.4° to the upper left of Spica. As the sky darkens after sunset, look for Venus about 6° up in the southwest, 30 minutes after sunset. It is over 17° to the lower right of Jupiter. Half an hour later, Jupiter, 11° up in the southwest, is over 21° to the lower right of Saturn, over 21° up in the south-southwest. Farther east, the gibbous moon (10.8d, 81%), in eastern Aquarius, is nearly 27° up in the southeast.
  • November 8: One hour before sunrise, Mars, nearly 9° up in the east-southeast, is 3.1° to the upper left of Spica. Venus moves into Ophiuchus, 16° to the lower right of Jupiter. Thirty minutes after sunset, Venus is 6° up in the southwest. Thirty minutes later the moon (11.8d, 88%) is nearly 24° up in the east-southeast. It is in Cetus.
  • November 9: One hour before sunrise, Mars, nearly 10° up in the east-southeast, is 2.8° to the upper left of Spica. In the evening, thirty minutes after sunset, Venus, nearly 6° up in the southwest, is 3.9° to the upper right of Antares (m = 1.0). The Venus – Jupiter (m = −1.9) gap is 15°. One hour after sunset, the moon (12.8d, 94%) is 20° up in the east-southeast. It is in Cetus for a second evening.
  • November 10: One hour before sunrise, Mars, 10° up in the east-southeast, passes 2.8° to the upper left of Spica. Thirty minutes after sunset, Venus is 6° up in the southwest. Though it is low, through a telescope, the planet is nearly 11” across and 92% illuminated. One hour after sunset, the moon (13.8d, 97%) is about 16° up in the east. It is in Pisces. You’ll need a binocular to see the dim stars in the bright, moonlit sky.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.