November 20, 2020: After sunset, bright rusty Mars is in the east-southeast in front of the dim stars of Pisces. This evening the thick crescent moon is east of the Jupiter-Saturn pair. Jupiter continues to close the gap to Saturn as a runup to their Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:47 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:26 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
One hour after sunset, bright rusty Mars is over one-third of the way up in the sky in the east-southeast. It is slowly moving eastward among the dim stars of Pisces. Use a binocular to spot it 2.7° to the lower right of Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc on the chart) and 2.9° to the lower left of Delta Piscium (δ Psc).
Jupiter – over 80° to the west of Mars – is low in the south-southwest. Jupiter continues to close the gap to Saturn as a prelude to their Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020. Saturn is 3.2° to the upper left of Jupiter.
The moon – nearly 40% illuminated and in front of the stars of Capricornus – is over 20° to the upper left of Jupiter. Notice that the moon’s brightness is casting shadows on the ground.
Use a binocular to note that Jupiter and Saturn are dancing past the star 56 Sagittarii (56 Sgr on the chart). Jupiter is 2.0° below the star while Saturn is 2.9° to the upper left it. Jupiter is 3.5° to the upper left of 52 Sgr.
For more about Mars during November, see this article.
Detailed note: One hour after sunset, Mars – over 32° up in the east-southeast – is 2.7° to the lower right of ε Psc and 2.9° to the lower left of δ Psc. Jupiter – 81.4° of ecliptic longitude west of Mars – is nearly 22° up in the south-southwest, 3.2° to the lower right of Saturn. In the starfield, the Jovian Giant is 2.0° below 56 Sgr, while Saturn is 2.9° to the left of the star. Jupiter is 3.5° to the upper left of 52 Sgr. The moon (5.8d, 38%) – over 17° to the upper left of Saturn – is nearly 27° up in the south. In Capricornus, the lunar crescent is 9.6° to the lower right of Delta Capricorni (δ Cap, m = 2.8).
Read more about the planets during November.
October 29 – November 1, 2021: The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!
October 26, 27, and 28, 2021: During the early morning hours, the bright gibbous moon appears in front of Gemini’s stars.
October 26, 2021: Mercury is at its greatest morning appearance for the year. Look low in the east-southeast before sunrise.
October 25, 2021: This morning the bright gibbous moon seems to be caught between the horns of Taurus. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. The planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky.
October 24, 2021: Saturn is at its closest to Jupiter as the Jovian Giant picks up eastward speed. The morning moon and Mercury are visible before sunrise. Brilliant Evening Star Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the sky after sunset.