November 9 – 12, 2021: The moon skips past Jupiter and Saturn during the evenings of November 9, 10, 11, and 12.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
The moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky. During the next few evenings, the moon passes Saturn and Jupiter.
Step outside about an hour after sunset. Starting in the southwest, brilliant Venus gleams from low in the sky. Saturn, about one-third of the way up in the south, is over 30° to the upper left of Venus. Bright Jupiter is 15° to the left of Saturn. Depending on the evening, the moon is in the region. Note the star Fomalhaut, over 20° to the lower left of Jupiter.
Here’s what to look for each evening after sundown.
November 9: The moon – 33% illuminated – is over 20° to the upper left of brilliant Evening Star Venus and nearly 11° to the lower right of Saturn.
November 10: The waxing crescent moon is 6.3° to the lower left of Saturn and 12.5° to the lower right of Jupiter.
November 11: The moon is at its First Quarter phase at 6:46 a.m. CST. This evening, the slightly gibbous moon is 5.3° to the lower left of bright Jupiter.
November 12: The moon continues to wax (grow in phase) and step farther eastward. The gibbous moon – 65% illuminated – is 15.8° to the lower left of Jupiter.
Each evening, note the moon’s growing brightness, blotting out dimmer stars, and brightens the ground.
2021, November 9 – 12: The moon passes Jupiter and Saturn after sunset. The chart shows the southern sky at one hour after sunset.
January 5, 2022: Jupiter and the crescent are 5.5° in the evening sky. Look for Mercury and Saturn with the planet-moon duo. Earlier, Venus is low in the west-southwest. Before sunrise, Mars is near Antares.
January 4, 2022: Earth is at perihelion today – it’s closest point to the sun. Mars is a morning planet, while the evening planet pack – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – and the crescent moon are in the southwest after sundown.
January 3, 2022: The moon passes Venus for the final time of this evening appearance of Venus. As night falls, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter are visible in the southwest. Mars is in the southeast before sunrise.
December 30, 2021: As the year ends and the new one opens, the night sky’s brightest star – Sirius – is in the southern sky at the midnight hour.
December 31, 2021: This morning before sunup, the thin waning crescent moon appears near Mars and the star Antares. Four planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are on parade in the southwest after sundown.