Astronomy

2020, November 18: Moon near Jupiter, Saturn. Mars in East

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2020, November 18: One hour after sunset, the crescent moon is low in the southwest, 6.8° to the lower right of Jupiter and 4.9° to the upper left of Nunki. Saturn is 3.4° to the upper left of Jupiter. Among the stars Jupiter is 2.2° to the lower right of 56 Sagittarii (56 Sgr), while Saturn is 2.8° to the left of the star. Jupiter is 3.3° above 52 Sagittarii (52 Sgr).

Look for the crescent moon to the lower right of Jupiter and Saturn after sunset in the south-southwest.  Jupiter continues to move closer to Saturn as the Great Conjunction approaches on December 21, 2020.  Rusty Mars shines from the eastern sky from in front of the stars of Pisces.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:45 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:27 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

The crescent moon, November 18, 2020.

This evening, the crescent moon that is 18% illuminated is in the south-southwest after sunset.  The lunar sliver is about 7° to the lower right of bright Jupiter and nearly 5° to the upper right of Nunki, a star in the handle of the “Teapot of Sagittarius.”  The crescent is below a line from Jupiter to the star.

2020, November 18: The crescent moon is low in the southwest, 6.8° to the lower right of Jupiter. Saturn is 3.4° to the upper left of Jupiter.

The Jupiter – Saturn gap is 3.4°.  Jupiter continues to make a seemingly slow-motion approach to Saturn as a prelude to the Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020.

Look for the planets as soon as the sky darkens after sunset.  The chart above shows them about one hour after sunset.

In the starfield, Jupiter and Saturn continue to slowly move eastward compared to the background of stars.  Use a binocular to spot the giant-planet pair near 56 Sagittarii (56 Sgr on the chart).  Jupiter is 2.2° below the star, while Saturn is 2.8° to the left of the star.

2020, November 18: One hour after sunset, Mars is over 30° up in the east-southeast, 2.9° to the lower right of Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc) and 2.9° below Delta Piscium (δ Psc).

Farther east, Mars is slowly moving eastward after it reversed its course several days ago after the completion of its retrograde motion.  It is over one-third of the way up in the sky during evening twilight.  Among the stars it is 2.9° to the lower right of Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc on the chart) and 2.9° below Delta Piscium (δ Psc).

2020, November 18: Mars is 2.9° to the lower right of Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc) and 2.9° below Delta Piscium (δ Psc).

Mars sets in the west about 3:30 a.m. CST or about 3.5 hours before sunrise and before Venus rises in the east.

For more about Mars during November, see this article.

Detailed note: One hour after sunset look for the crescent moon (3.8d, 18%) over 16° in altitude in the south-southwest.  It is a below a line from Nunki (σ Sgr, m = 2.0) to Jupiter.  The moon is 6.8° to the lower right of Jupiter and 4.9° to the upper left of Nunki.  The Jupiter – Saturn gap is 3.4°.  Jupiter is to the lower right of Saturn. Among the stars Jupiter is 2.2° below 56 Sgr, while Saturn is 2.8° to the left of the star.  Jupiter is 3.3° above 52 Sgr.  Farther east, Mars (m = −1.5) is over 31° up in the east-southeast, 2.9° to the lower right of ε Psc and 2.9° below δ Psc.

For more about the Great Conjunction, read our feature article. This is the closest Jupiter – Saturn conjunction since 1623.

Read more about the planets during November.

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