Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Evening Sky

As I was walking to my car from the gym, there, low in the southwestern sky was the very crescent moon. It was lovely (it has set since then), and I was happy to see it again. It's been rising later in the day and Sunday it was just past the new phase, so it was not visible. Now it has returned. And it brought a friend. I'm guessing that the friend is Jupiter, with that kind of brightness. The magnitude is high... the sun had set but it was not fully dark, it was dark teal with a bit of deep orange far to the southwest. It's almost more south than west. At any rate, Jupiter, the God of the planets, is setting and not visible much longer.

And I found this:

"Monday, November 12, 2007

This evening, look for the slim waxing crescent moon to appear with the very bright planet Jupiter shortly after sunset.

They’ll be near the sunset point on the horizon. And they’ll be low in the sky, so you’ll need an open horizon to see the moon and Jupiter. You can catch this shining duo at dusk or early evening. The moon and Jupiter will set shortly after dark.

Monday and Tuesday are the last close pairing of the moon and Jupiter in the evening sky for many months to come. The moon appears in this part of the sky every month. But Jupiter is now moving on our sky’s dome toward the sunset glare. Soon Jupiter will be lost in the glare of evening twilight for this year. That’ll happen around late November or early December.
Depending on where you live, the moon and Jupiter will pair up most closely tonight or tomorrow night. As seen from the Americas, these worlds will be closest together tonight. As seen from the eastern part of the world – like East Asia, Australia and New Zealand – the moon and Jupiter will be closer tomorrow evening. Be sure to catch this last evening appearance of the moon and Jupiter for 2007.

By coincidence, Jupiter’s exit from our sky in early December will coincide with the evening return of the planet Mars. In December, Earth will pass between Mars and the sun. Mars will be shining at its boldest and brightest, all night long!"

I will be sure to catch that show! Mars, is of course, a favourite. I have always hoped that there would something more than proof that something less than a microbe once lived on Mars. As it happens, now we have hope for Io to contain life. We'll just have to keep reading the chapters for that.

Jupiter is approxmately -1.9 magnitude right now. That is quite bright. Venus was a magnitude -4.5 during September - It was stunning. She's rising c. 0230, but will be going retrograde soon enough. She will rise later again starting in December until disappearing behind the sun in April. She'll return in September as the evening star. I guess the time will pass quickly as it does; but I will miss her. Venus is so much a part of the sky.

Here is a great Web site: http://astronomy.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=274094

Planets for November 2007
Jupiter fades in the west, Mercury, Venus and Saturn dominate the early morning sky, Mars is king of the night.

Mercury- In Virgo Mercury reaches greatest elongation west on Nov. 8th. This morning showing favors northern observers and at the beginning of the month will show as a thick crescent. Look low in the east-southeast through the end of November. Poor viewing for Southern viewers 0.8 mag (1st) to -0.7 mag (21st)

Venus- Starts in Leo but after the first weekend crosses into Virgo with Mercury. Venus is brilliant in the morning sky and will be all month. On Nov.5th use the moon to find Venus during the day. -4.0 mag (1st) to - 4.1 mag (21st)

Mars- In Gemini. Earth is slowly catching up to Mars so the red planet will continue to look larger through December when Earth and Mars are their closest approach. Nov. 15th Mars begins its retrograde loop within Gemini. -0.6 (1st) to -0.8 mag (21st)

Ceres- reaches opposition on Nov. 9th brightening to magnitude 7.2 (see the finder chart below)

Jupiter- In Ophiuchus sets in the west-southwest at the end of twilight for mid-Northern viewers by mid-month. Viewing is better as you move South. -1.9 mag (1st) to -1.8 mag (21st)

Saturn- In Leo Saturn rises several hours before sunrise with Venus and Regulus in a nice little trio. Saturn is at quadrature,when the planet's shadow on the rings is most prominent making the planet look 3D, on Dec 1st 0.7 mag (1st) to 0.8 mag (21st)

Uranus-In Aquarius 5.7 mag (1st) to 5.8 mag (21st)

Neptune-In Capricorn 7.9 mag (1st) to 7.8 mag (21st)

Wahoo! What a great Website this is! I will have to go here every month.

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