November 10, 2022: The moon continues to close in on bright Mars. Compare their respective places before sunup and after sundown. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is in an ideal location for sky watchers with telescopes.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:35 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:34 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: 7:05 UT, 17:01 UT; Nov. 11, 2:57 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.
Here is today’s planet forecast:
SUMMARY OF PLANETS IN 2022 MORNING SKY
This morning, the bright moon, 96% illuminated, is about one-third of the way up in the west during morning twilight. At one hour before sunup, it is 7.6° to the upper right of Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus, and over 14° to the lower right of bright Mars.
This bright moon whitewashes the dimmer stars in the sky. To see the dimmer stars in Taurus, use a binocular.
Mars is retrograding, apparently moving westward compared to the stellar background, near the star Elnath, the Bull’s northern Horn. Mars passes the star on the 18th, after cutting between the horns five nights earlier.
Mars is nearly as bright as Sirius and it continues to grow in visual intensity through this month. Mars is getting closer to Earth as our planet catches up with it. This morning, it is nearly 54 million miles away. On the night of the 30th, the planet is closest to Earth, nearly 51 million miles away.
Fifteen minutes later, Arcturus and Spica continue their entry into the predawn eastern sky. Topaz Arcturus is over 20° up in the east, while sapphire Spica is about half that altitude – height above the horizon – in the east-southeast.
Venus and Mercury are slowly moving into the evening sky. Mercury sets only a minute after sundown, while Venus sets fourteen minutes later. Their reappearance in the western evening twilight after superior conjunction is slow.
Bright Jupiter and Saturn are higher in the sky and farther west after sunset. One hour after sundown, Jupiter is over one-third of the way up in the sky above the southeast horizon. It continues to retrograde in front of Pisces’ dim stars. It returns to its eastward motion in about two weeks.
Saturn, slowly moving eastward in front of Capricornus is near the stars Deneb Algedi and Nashira. The planet is about one-third of the way up in the southern sky, a little east of the south cardinal point. The Ringed Wonder is considerably dimmer than Jupiter, but brighter than most of the other stars this evening.
Mars rises about two hours after sundown. Two hours later, the bright moon, 93% illuminated, is farther eastward compared to this morning. Mars and the moon are about 25° up in the east-northeast. The Red Planet is 5.2° to the lower left of the lunar orb.
Elnath is 4.3° to the left of the moon and likely not easy to see with the moon’s glare. Block the moon’s light with your hand as you would to reduce the sun’s glare.
At this hour, Jupiter is about halfway up in the south and Saturn is above the southwest horizon at about the same altitude as Mars. This display of the bright outer planets occurs earlier during the evening as the year progresses. Much dimmer Uranus and Neptune are part of this planetary platter, but they are more challenging to locate. A binocular is needed to see them.
At 8:57 p.m. CST, Jupiter’s Red Spot is in the center of the planet. The spot is visible for about 50 minutes before and after the prime observing time. For sky watchers with telescopes in the central regions of North America, the planet is near its highest arc this evening and best for seeing this long-lived atmospheric storm.
For sky watchers with binoculars or spotting scopes, the largest four Jovian satellites are visible west of the planet when the Red Spot is in the best location.
By tomorrow morning, Saturn and Jupiter set in the western sky. Mars and the moon are in the western sky before sunup. The gibbous moon is nearly between the Red Planet and Mars. Set a reminder to look for this striking grouping in the morning.