November 3, 2022: Before daybreak, Mars is high in the western sky above the Bull’s horns. After sundown, the gibbous moon is between Jupiter and Saturn.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:26 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 5:42 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The Great Red Spot’s transit times, when it is in the center of the planet in the southern hemisphere: 6:19 UT, 16:14 UT. Convert time to your time zone. In the US, subtract four hours for EDT, five hours for CDT, and so on. Use a telescope to see the spot.
The spot is visible at 1:19 a.m. CDT. Jupiter is less than 20° up in the west-southwest from the Chicago region, and lower in the sky from locales farther east. This is an unfavorable altitude – height above the horizon – for good planet viewing through a telescope. The filtering effect of Earth’s atmosphere dims the planet, makes it appear orange, and somewhat fuzzy. Viewing the spot is possible, but other times occur this month when the planet is higher in the sky.
Here is today’s planet forecast:
The star Spica continues to appear higher in the sky during brighter morning twilight. Its blue color makes it a little easier to see in the reds and oranges of the predawn sky.
At 45 minutes before daybreak, the star is low in the east-southeast. Topaz Arcturus is higher in the east-northeast.
Earlier during twilight, Mars is easily visible against Taurus high in the western sky. It is above the Bull’s horns, 2.8° to the upper right of Zeta Tauri, the tip of the southern horn.
On the 7th, Mars passes Zeta Tauri. The planet passes between the horns on the 13th and passes Elnath, the northern horn, on the 18th.
The Red Planet is slowly retrograding. It turned westward on October 30th and it is picking up speed.
Retrograde is an illusion when Earth catches and passes the outer planets. The line of sight from Earth to the planet seems to move westward as Earth passes by on an orbital path closer to the sun.
By an hour before daybreak, the overnight display of the three outer planets is over. Jupiter and Saturn are below the western horizon. Look for them tonight.
Mercury is moving toward its superior conjunction on the far side of its solar orbit and an entrance into the evening sky. In very bright twilight. it rises only 17 minutes before the sun.
Venus is slowly moving into the evening sky. It sets only eleven minutes after sundown.
The bright moon is visible in the eastern sky long before sunset. As night falls, look for the gibbous moon, 78% illuminated, low in the southeastern sky. It is about 13° to the lower right of bright Jupiter, while the star Fomalhaut, meaning “the mouth of the southern fish,” is over 20° to the lower right of the lunar orb.
Jupiter is retrograding in front of a dim Pisces starfield. The illusion of its westward motion ends later this month. With Venus hiding in bright sunlight, the Jovian Giant is the brightest star in the sky tonight.
Saturn, over one-third of the way up in the south-southeast, is slowly moving eastward in Capricornus, near the stars Deneb Algedi and Nashira that might be difficult to see with the moon’s brightness. A binocular helps to find them.
About three hours after sundown, Jupiter is about halfway up in the south. The moon is to the lower right of the Jovian Giant. Saturn is about 20° up in the southwest, while Mars is in the eastern sky. The bright outer planets and the gibbous moon are hanging along an arc of the solar system, the ecliptic.
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- 2023, October 11: Morning Earthshine, LeoOctober 11, 2023: The morning’s thin lunar crescent displays earthshine as it appears near the constellation Leo.
- 2023, October 10: Morning Venus-Moon-Regulus Gathering, Venus-Saturn OppositionOctober 10, 2023: This morning Venus, the crescent moon, and Regulus gather in the eastern sky for a beautiful celestial display. Venus and Saturn are at opposition today.
- 2023, October 9: Venus-Regulus Conjunction, Morning Crescent MoonOctober 9, 2023: The Venus-Regulus conjunction occurs this morning. The morning crescent moon is above Venus during twilight.
- 2023, October 8: Celestial Barnyard, Convergence at RegulusOctober 8, 2023: The moon is visible with a celestial barnyard during morning twilight. Venus and the lunar crescent head for a celestial gathering in two mornings.