November 14, 2022: Before sunrise, the gibbous moon is near Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins. During the evening, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn span the sky from east-northeast to southwest.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:39 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:31 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: 0:26 UT, 10:22 UT, 20:18 UT; Nov. 15, 6:14 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 gibbous moon, 69% illuminated, is high in the western sky an hour before daybreak. It is 6.0° to the upper left of Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins. The second, Castor, is 4.5° to the right of Pollux.
With the moon’s brightness, it may be necessary to block out the moon with your hand as you would block the sun’s glare.
This morning the moon is within the boundaries of Cancer, the seemingly empty space between the Gemini Twins and Leo. The Lion’s brightest star, Regulus, is over two-thirds of the way up in the south-southeast.
The lunar orb is over 35° to the upper left of Mars.
Mars is retrograding – an illusion from Earth moving between the planet and the sun – in front of Taurus. The planet is less than halfway up in the west at this hour, just below and imaginary line from Elnath to Zeta Tauri, the Bull’s horns.
Mars is brighter than Sirius that is about 20° up in the southwest. Which seems brighter to you? Mars is distinctly red-orange while Sirius is blue-white.
The head is made by Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster and resembles a letter “V.” The Pleiades star cluster is on the animal’s back. With this bright moonlight, a binocular may be needed to see the “V” and the Pleiades.
VENUS AS AN EVENING STAR, 2022-2023
Venus and Mercury are slowly emerging from bright sunlight. This evening Mercury sets six minutes after the sun, followed by Venus, 12 minutes later. They are part of a slow westward migration of the bright planets. Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are farther westward each evening at the same time. By year’s end – December 24th through the 28th – the five bright planets are visible after sundown. Dimmer Uranus and Neptune are in the sky as well, including us standing on our world – the eight planets of the modern solar system model.
Jupiter continues as “that bright star” in the southeast as night falls. It is over one-third of the way up in the southeast an hour after sundown. The Jovian Giant retrogrades, for another 10 nights, against a dim Pisces starfield.
For those living away from the constant night glow of outdoor lighting, the stars are somewhat easy to locate. For those who suffer with those lights, use a binocular. The full pattern is made of two fish connected with a string. The western fish in Pisces, known as “the circlet,” is to Jupiter’s upper right. The stars are dim.
Saturn is nearly south at this hour, moving eastward in front of the stars of eastern Capricornus. The Ringed Wonder is slowly moving toward Nashira. Tonight, it is 3.3° to the upper right of that star and 1.0° to the upper left of Iota Capricorni (ι Cap on the chart).
Nashira is near Deneb Algedi – meaning “the kid’s tail.” The kid, Algedi, is on the western edge of the constellation.
The stars of Capricornus are somewhat brighter than those in Pisces. Capricornus resembles a wedge or a delta-shaped, futuristic spacecraft. Sky watchers in urban and suburban areas need binoculars to find the pattern.
Mars rises about two hours after sunset. Two hours later, the Red Planet is over 20° up in the east-northeast. It is to the right of the imaginary line from Elnath to Zeta Tauri.
Four hours after sunset seems to be late. In Chicago, this is around 8:30 p.m. CST. Check your local sunset time and add the four hours.
This time is interesting because Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn nearly span the sky. Jupiter is in the south, about halfway up, while Saturn is about 20° above the southwest horizon.
The moon rises about five hours after sundown, and it is visible to the east of Mars tomorrow morning. Saturn and Jupiter set during the night.
At 12:14 a.m. tomorrow (November 15th), the Great Red Spot is in the center of Jupiter in the southern hemisphere. From Chicago, the planet is only 20° up in the west-southwest. This is not an ideal location in the sky to see the spot. The atmosphere blurs the view and sometimes make the planet dance and shimmer in a telescopic eyepiece. From locations farther westward, the planet is higher in the sky and in clearer, steadier air.