November 19, 2022: Before sunup, the waning crescent moon is in the southeast with Virgo. During the evening see Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn at the same time.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:45 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:27 p.m. CDT. 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: 9:31 UT, 19:26 UT; Nov. 20, 5:22 UT. Convert the 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:
A thin crescent moon, 22% illuminated, is less than halfway up in the southeast before sunrise. The lunar slice is 9.4° to the upper right of the star Porrima, also known as Gamma Virginis, and over twice that separation to the upper right of sapphire Spica – the brightest star in Virgo.
Tomorrow morning, the moon covers or occults Porrima as seen from northwest Africa and southwest Europe.
This morning may be the best morning for earthshine for this waning moon cycle. Looking an hour before sunrise, the sky is sufficiently dark that the bright blush of later twilight tends to wash out the gentle glow on the moon’s night portion from sunlight reflected from Earth’s features, clouds, oceans, and land.
Bright Mars is farther westward at this hour, retrograding near the Bull’s horns, Elnath and Zeta Tauri. From night to night, its westward trek is easy to spot after it reversed its direction last month. Find the planet, over one-third of the way up in Taurus.
Venus and Mercury continue their slow entry into the evening sky. This evening Mercury sets fourteen minutes after the sun, followed by Venus eight minutes later. Speedy Mercury is overtaking the second planet from the sun.
As the sky darkens, Jupiter is “that bright star” in the southeast. While it is a planet, it is starlike to the unaided eyes, shining as the brightest star tonight. By an hour after sunset, dimmer Saturn is about one-third of the way up in the south.
Mars rises about two hours after sunset, seeming to follow Jupiter and Saturn westward. By ninety minutes later, Jupiter is about halfway up in the south. No other bright stars are nearby. Fomalhaut – meaning “the mouth of the southern fish” – is to the lower left of the Jovian Giant.
At this hour Saturn is low in the southwest and bright Mars is in the east-northeast. It is brighter than the two other reddish stars in that region – Betelgeuse and Aldebaran.
The three planets are strung along the plane of the solar system. This view is impressive – the three bright planets seem hang to across the sky.
At 11:22 p.m. CST (Nov 20, 5:22 UT), Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is in the center of the planet for sky watchers with telescopes. From Chicago, the planet is 25° up in the southwest. Sky watchers farther westward see the planet higher and in a clearer sky.
By tomorrow morning, Mars is in the western sky again. The crescent moon is thinner and lower in the southeast.
December 31, 2022: Mercury begins to depart the evening sky, leaving four bright planets – Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars on display for New Year’s Eve.Keep reading
December 30, 2022: The night’s brightest star, Sirius, is in the south at midnight as the year ends. The bright planet evening display continues as Mercury disappears into bright twilight.Keep reading
December 29, 2022: The evening planet display is ending as Mercury begins to retrograde and fade in brightness. Look for Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Moon, and Mars after sundown.Keep reading