November 5, 2022: Mars, above the Bull’s horns, crowns a bright stellar assembly before daybreak. Jupiter, Saturn, and the gibbous moon are visible after sundown.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:29 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:39 p.m. CST. 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: 7:57 UT, 17:53 UT; Nov. 6, 3:48 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.
Here is today’s planet forecast:
Mars shines from the western sky before daybreak. It is among several bright stars in the southwest. As we look into the starfields of a nearby section of the Milky Way, we see Orion as the flagship constellation of the region.
Begin looking at an hour before sunrise. The Hunter’s three belt stars, lining up in a row, are easily identified. Reddish Betelgeuse is above them and topaz Rigel is below. The night’s brightest star, Sirius, is to the left of the belt stars and the Pleiades star cluster is to the right.
The star cluster rides on the back of Taurus. The head is made by the Hyades cluster and topaz Aldebaran. The tips of the horns, Elnath and Zeta Tauri, are higher in the sky. Mars is above the points.
The Red Planet is picking up westward speed after it began its retrograde six nights ago. This morning it is 2.9° to the upper right of Zeta Tauri. Mars passes the star in two nights.
The star Capella is to the upper right of Mars, while the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux, are to Mars’ upper left and above Orion.
Procyon – meaning “before the dog” – is above Sirius. From Chicago’s latitude, Procyon rises several minutes before Sirius – the Dog Star.
Look for this bright stellar congregation before the bright moon remains in the sky at this time in a few days, after the eclipse on the morning of the 8th.
Mercury, still west of the sun, rises only 10 minutes before the central star. It reaches its superior conjunction on the far side of its solar arc on the 8th.
Venus is slowly moving into the western sky to become the Evening Star. It sets only 12 minutes after the sun.
This evening, the bright moon, 94% illuminated, is over 15° to the lower left of bright Jupiter.
Jupiter is the brightest star in the sky tonight, with Venus hiding in bright sunlight. The Jovian Giant and the other bright planets look like stars to the unaided eye. A binocular reveals up to four of Jupiter’s largest satellites. A telescope reveals the planet’s globe.
At an hour after sunset, Saturn is about one-third of the way up in the south. It slowly moves eastward in front of Capricornus, although the bright moonlight washes out the dimmer stars that make the sidereal background.
The star Fomalhaut, meaning “the mouth of the southern fish,” is to the lower left of Saturn and low in the south-southeast.
By three hours after sundown, Jupiter is approaching the south direction, with the gibbous moon to its upper left. Saturn is low in the southwest and Mars is in the east-northeast. Both are about the same height above the horizon.
At 10:48 p.m. CDT, as noted above in the Great Red Spot timings (3:48 UT, November 6), the long-lived “storm” is in the center of the planet, Jupiter is about halfway up in the south-southwest for sky watchers with telescopes in the central US. This is a good celestial place to see the spot.
Get out your telescope, use eyepieces that provide at least 100x magnification and look for the spot.
Overnight Saturn, Jupiter, and the moon set in the west, leaving the bright stellar assembly in the southwestern sky, crowned by Mars.
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