Moon near Pollux, Nightly Bright Planet Display – When the Curves Align

November 14, 2022: Before sunrise, the gibbous moon is near Pollux, one of the Gemini twins. During the evening, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn cover the sky from east-northeast to southwest.

Chart legend – November 14, 2022: The moon is near Pollux before sunrise.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, IL: Sunrise, 6:39 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 4:31 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Transit times of the Great Red Spot, when it is in the center of the planet in the southern hemisphere: 0:26 UT, 10:22 UT, 8:18 UT; November 15, 6:14 GMT. Convert the time to your time zone. In the US, subtract five hours for EST, six hours for CST, etc. Use a telescope to see the place.

Here is today’s planetary forecast:

morning sky

SUMMARY OF PLANETS IN THE MORNING SKY 2022

This morning, the bright gibbous moon, 69% lit, 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 brightness of the moon, it may be necessary to block the moon with your hand as you would block the glare of the sun.

This morning, the moon is in the boundaries of Cancer, the seemingly empty space between Gemini and Leo. Leo’s brightest star, Regulus, is more than two-thirds its height in the south-southeast.

The lunar orb is more than 35° to the upper left of Mars.

Chart legend – November 14, 2022: One hour before sunrise, Mars is in the west with Taurus.

Retrograde Mars — an illusion of Earth moving between the planet and the sun — ahead of Taurus. The planet is less than half the height in the west at this time, just below an imaginary line from Elnath to Zeta Tauri, the horns of the bull.

SUMMARY OF THE MARCH 2022 OPPOSITION

Mars is brighter than Sirius which is about 20° southwest. Which do you think is the brightest? Mars is distinctly red-orange while Sirius is blue-white.

The head is made by Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster and looks like a letter “V”. The Pleiades star cluster is on the animal’s back. With this bright moonlight, binoculars may be needed to see the “V” and the Pleiades.

evening sky

Chart legend – November 14, 2022: After sunset, Jupiter is visible against Pisces to the southeast.

VENUS AS EVENING STAR, 2022-2023

Venus and Mercury are slowly emerging from the sunlight. Tonight, Mercury sets six minutes after the sun, followed by Venus, 12 minutes later. They are part of a slow westward migration of bright planets. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are further west each evening at the same time. At the end of the year – December 24e through the 28e – the five bright planets are visible after sunset. Dimmer Uranus and Neptune are also in the sky, including us standing on our world – the eight planets in the model of the modern solar system.

Jupiter continues as “that bright star” in the southeast as night falls. It is more than a third of the height in the southeast one hour after sunset. The Jovian giant retrogrades, for another 10 nights, against a dark Pisces starfield.

For those who live away from the constant nighttime glow of outdoor lighting, stars are fairly easy to locate. For those who suffer from these lights, use binoculars. The complete pattern is made up of two fish connected by a string. The western fish in Pisces, known as the “circle”, is found in the upper right of Jupiter. The stars are dark.

Chart legend – November 14, 2022: Saturn approaches the southern cardinal point with Capricorn after sunset.

Saturn is nearly south at this time, moving east past the stars of eastern Capricorn. The Ringed Wonder is slowly heading towards Nashira. Tonight, it is 3.3° to the top right of this star and 1.0° to the top left of Iota Capricorni (ι Course on the map).

Nashira is near Deneb Algedi – which means “child’s tail”. The child, Algedi, is on the western edge of the constellation.

The stars of Capricorn are a bit brighter than those of Pisces. Capricornus looks like a futuristic wedge or delta-shaped spaceship. Skywatchers in urban and suburban areas need binoculars to find the pattern.

Chart legend – November 14, 2022: Mars is in the east-northeast four hours after sunset.

Mars rises about two hours after sunset. Two hours later, the red planet is more than 20° to 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, it’s 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 almost cover the sky. Jupiter is to the south, about halfway up, while Saturn is about 20° above the southwest horizon.

The moon rises about five hours after sunset and is visible east of Mars tomorrow morning. Saturn and Jupiter set during the night.

At 00:14 tomorrow (November 15e), the Great Red Spot is at the center of Jupiter in the southern hemisphere. From Chicago, the planet is only 20° west-southwest. It is not an ideal place in the sky to see the place. The atmosphere blurs the view and sometimes makes the planet dance and sparkle in a telescopic eyepiece. From more westerly locations, the planet is higher in the sky and in clearer, more stable air.

About Robert Wright

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