2022, November 9: Uranus at Opposition, Moon Approaches Mars

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November 9, 2022: Uranus is at opposition after midnight.  The planet is visible through a binocular.  The bright moon moves toward Mars in Taurus.  The lunar orb is near the Pleiades star cluster.

Chart Caption – 2022, November 9: Through a binocular, Uranus is in an Aries starfield, near Rho Arietis (ρ Ari), Pi Arietis (π Ari), and Sigma Arietis (σ Ari).

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:35 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:38 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:1:18 UT, 11:14 UT; 21:09 UT.  Convert time to your time zone. In the US, subtract five hours for EST, six hours for CST, and so on.  Use a telescope to see the spot.

Daylight is approaching ten hours at Chicago’s latitude. During the next two days, the length is within a minute of that mark.  By November’s end, day’s length is nine hours, twenty-four minutes.

Here is today’s planet forecast:

Morning Sky

SUMMARY OF PLANETS IN 2022 MORNING SKY

Uranus is at opposition after midnight, meaning Earth is between the planet and the sun.  With the bright moon nearby, the planet is not easily found at this hour.  Normally near the limit of eyesight from locales without bright outdoor lighting, the planet and background stars are washed out by the moonlight.  Further, the planet is not near many bright stars.

Uranus is retrograding in Aries, near Rho Arietis (ρ Ari on the chart), Pi Arietus (π Ari), and Sigma Arietis (σ Ari).  The view is challenging even under moonless conditions.

The planet is 9.4° to the lower right of the bright moon and too far away seeing both in the same binocular field of view as with yesterday’s lunar eclipse.  It is aquamarine in color.  Through a binocular, the planet resembles a star, but shows a globe through a telescope.

Chart Caption – 2022, November 9: Through a binocular, the bright moon is with the Pleiades.

An hour before sunrise, the moon appears in the same binocular field as the Pleiades.  This is not an ideal view because the moon is very bright, intense enough to leave a temporary afterimage, like that from a photographic flash, after a long view through the binocular.

Initially, find the moon and the cluster, then move the binocular so that the moon is outside the field of view, leaving the stellar bunch.

Chart Caption – 2022, November 9: An hour before sunrise, the bright moon is with Mars and Taurus.

MARS OPPOSITION 2022 SUMMARY

At this hour, Taurus’ brightest star Aldebaran is nearly 15° to the upper left of the lunar orb, and Mars is another 15° above the star.  The Red Planet is 4.9° to the left of Elnath, the Bull’s northern horn.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2022, November 9: After sundown, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky.

Venus and Mercury are entering the evening sky.  The speed is slower that when they move from the evening to morning sky.  Mercury sets at sunset, while Venus follows only 14 minutes later.  They are joining the three outer planets in the evening sky for a five-planet display at year’s end.

An hour after sundown, bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky.  The Jovian Giant is about one-third of the way up in the southeast.  It continues to retrograde in front of a dim Pisces starfield.

Jupiter is the brightest star in the sky tonight.  To the unaided eye, the bright planets resemble stars.  Their globes can be seen through telescopes.

The star Deneb Kaitos – meaning the sea monster’s tail – is below Jupiter, about one-third of the way from the horizon to the planet.

Chart Caption – 2022, November 9: Through a binocular, Saturn is moving eastward with Capricornus, near Deneb Algedi, Nashira, and Iota Capricorni (ι Cap).

Saturn is moving eastward in front of the stars of eastern Capricornus, near Deneb Algedi and Nashira.  Through a binocular, the Ringed Wonder is east of the star Iota Capricorni (ι Cap).  The planet does not move as quickly compared to the starfield as the planets closer to the sun, but its eastward motion can be followed.  Tonight, the planet is 0.8° east of Iota.

At this hour, the moon, 98% illuminated, is crossing the horizon in the east-northeast.

Chart Caption – 2022, November 9: An hour before sunrise, the bright moon is with Mars and Taurus.

Mars rises about an hour later and by four hours after sunset, the Red Planet and the moon are in the eastern sky.  The moon is about one-third of the way up in the east.  Mars is over 17° to the lower left of the lunar orb, 4.8° to the lower right of Elnath.

Unlike this morning, the moon has moved farther eastward and it is no longer in the same binocular field with the Pleiades star cluster.

At this time, Jupiter is about halfway up in the south and Saturn is low in the southwest, at about the same altitude, height above the horizon as Mars.

The three bright outer planets and the moon are lined up near the solar system’s plane, known as the ecliptic. With earlier sunsets, this planetary display is becoming more convenient to see.  Later in the year, when Venus and Mercury are easily visible, the three bright outer planets joins them in a five-planet display along with the dimmer Uranus and Neptune.

Tomorrow morning, Jupiter and Saturn are below the western horizon, leaving the waning gibbous moon near Mars.

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