2022, November 13: Mars Splits Bull’s Horns: The Sequel


November 13, 2022: Mars moves between the Bull’s horns – Elnath and Zeta Tauri – for the second time.  During the evening, Mars joins Jupiter and Saturn in a three-planet display.

Chart Caption – 2022, November 13: Before sunup, Mars is between the horns before sunup as the gibbous moon nears Castor and Pollux.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:38 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:32 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: 4:35 UT, 14:31 UT, Nov. 14, 0:26 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:

Morning Sky


For the second time during this Mars appearance, the Red Planet passes between the horns of Taurus – Elnath and Zeta Tauri.  The planet first split the horns on October 17 as it marched eastward.

The planet appeared to reverse its direction on October 30 and began to retrograde – a illusion that the planet is moving westward compared to the distant starfield.

The third passing occurs on March 11, 2023, after retrograde ends and the planet appears to resume its eastward march.


After this second event, Mars passes closest (4.0°) to Elnath on the 18th, Earth and Mars are closest on the 30th.  Earth passes between Mars and the sun, opposition, on December 7th.  On that evening the moon covers or occults the planet.

This morning Mars is less than halfway up in the west at one hour before sunrise, between Elnath and Zeta Tauri.  The gibbous moon, 78% illuminated, is over 20° to the upper left of the Red Planet.

The moon is over 6° below Castor and Pollux, the Gemini Twins.  It may be necessary to cover the moon with your hand, as you would to block out the sun, to see them.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2022, November 13: After sundown, Jupiter is in the southeast, while Saturn is in the southern sky.

Venus and Mercury are slowly moving into the evening sky.  Mercury sets only five minutes after the sun, followed by Venus twelve minutes later.

Jupiter is “that bright star” in the southeast during the early evening hours.  The planets resemble stars when viewed without a telescope.

Its retrograde ends on the 24th in front of a dim Pisces starfield.

Saturn is slowly moving eastward in front of stars in eastern Capricornus.  It is still west of Nashira and Deneb Algedi. Saturn is dimmer than Jupiter, but brighter than most stars in the sky tonight.

Find the Ringed Wonder about one-third of the way up in the sky in the south.  It is still east of the south cardinal point during evening twilight.

Photo Caption: Jupiter with the Great Red Spot (NASA Photo)

At 6:26 p.m. CST, Jupiter is about 40° up in the southeast in Chicago.  The Great Red Spot is in the center of the planet for sky watchers with telescopes.  For locales farther eastward in the Americas, the planet is higher in the sky.  Observers farther westward see the planet lower and likely in thicker air that blurs the view and it sometimes seems to make the planet dance and boil in the eyepiece.

Chart Caption – 2022, November 13: Four hours after sundown, Mars is in the east-northeast between Elnath and Zeta Tauri, the Bull’s horns.

Two hours after sundown, Mars crosses the east-northeast horizon.  Two hours later, four hours after sunset, the Red Planet is over 20° up in the eastern sky, still between Elnath and Zeta Tauri.

At this hour, Jupiter is in the south, and Saturn is in the southwest.  The three bright outer planets are on full display from the east-northeast to the southwest. Each week they appear earlier, and near year’s end, they are joined by Mercury and Venus for a five-planet display.

When the moon rises, an hour later, Saturn is over 10° up in the southwest.  By tomorrow morning, Mars and the moon remain in the sky in the west.



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