January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Sky-Watching Activities, November 2012 to Early January 2013

Posted: Thursday, November 1st, 2012

by Robert C. Victor

Saturn emerges in morning twilight to the lower left of Venus and the star Spica by the second week of November. Venus will pass within 4 degrees north of Spica on Nov. 17, and will appear less than a degree from Saturn on the mornings of Nov. 26 and 27. These close pairings will be very interesting to follow for several consecutive mornings around those dates. Mercury will have a fine morning twilight apparition low in ESE to SE sky during Nov. 24-Dec. 28. Look for our solar system’s innermost planet to the lower left of Venus, within 10 degrees Nov. 29-Dec. 28, and within 6.5 degrees Dec. 5-12. During Mercury’s morning apparition, four of the five naked-eye planets will be visible simultaneously!

In the evening sky, the Pleiades star cluster is visible all night around Nov. 20. Look low in ENE at dusk, high in S in middle of night, and low in WNW as dawn brightens. Jupiter reaches peak brightness, opposition, and all-night visibility on the night of December 2-3, while dim red Mars lingers very low in SW to WSW in twilight until February.

Follow Moon in morning sky, one hour before sunrise, through Nov. 12.

Watch for the following events:

Th Oct 31: Pleiades star cluster 6° upper right of Moon.

Fr Nov 1:  Aldebaran, eye of Taurus the Bull, 4° left, Jupiter 7° UL, of Moon.

We Nov 7:  Regulus, heart of Leo, 10° left of fat crescent Moon.

Th Nov 8:  Regulus 8° above Moon.

Sa Nov 10: Venus 14° LL of crescent Moon.

Su Nov 11: Venus 5° UL of Moon. Spica 7° LL of Moon and 8° below Venus; Saturn 17° LL of Venus and 11° LL of Spica.

Mo Nov 12:  Last old Moon, very thin, 15° below Venus, 8° LL of Spica; look for Saturn 5° left of Moon and slightly lower.

Watch for these events involving planets and stars; look one hour before sunrise.

Sa Nov 17:  Venus passes 4° (min. dist.) north (upper left) of Spica.

We Nov 21:  Venus about equidistant from Spica and Saturn, 6° from each; Spica UR of Venus; Saturn LL of Venus.

Mo and Tu, Nov 26 and 27:  Saturn within 0.8° of Venus; by now Mercury is also visible, very low in ESE 12° LL of Venus; with Jupiter in WNW, four planets are visible simultaneously!

We and Th, Nov 28 and 29:  Jupiter 7° UL of Moon on Nov 28, 6° LR on Nov 29; note Aldebaran, eye of Taurus, 5° LL of Jupiter.

(Between these two mornings, one hour after sunset on evening of We Nov 28, look low in ENE for rising Moon, just past Full, with Jupiter 1-2° above.)

Night of Wednesday, November 28:

This is a great night to observe the effects of two motions: (1) The rotation of Earth, which causes the Moon and Jupiter to rise higher in the eastern evening sky, pass high in the south in the middle of the night, and sink low in the WNW as dawn brightens on Thursday, Nov. 29. (2) The other motion is the revolution of the Moon around the Earth, which causes the Moon to shift against the background of Jupiter and distant stars. By one hour before sunrise on Thursday, Nov. 29, the Moon will have moved nearly 6° E of Jupiter. (Jupiter will appear to lower right of the Moon.) Using binoculars, can you still spot Jupiter Thursday at sunrise, 6° lower right of the Moon?

Now follow the Moon daily, one hour before sunrise, Nov. 29-Dec. 11.

After seeing the Moon one day past Full above Jupiter and Aldebaran on Thursday, Nov. 29, you’ll see the waning gibbous Moon on Sunday, Dec. 2 to upper right of Procyon, the “Little Dog Star”, and lower left of Pollux and Castor, the “Gemini Twins”. On Wed. Dec. 5, find the Moon high in SSW below Regulus, heart of Leo the Lion. The Moon will be just over half full and one day before Last Quarter phase. On Sunday Dec. 9, find the waning crescent Moon 2° below Spica; on Monday Dec. 10, 5° lower right of Saturn; and on Tues. Dec. 11, just 2° lower right of Venus. Note Mercury just over 6° lower left of Venus.

Sat.-Mon., Nov. 10-12, l hour before sunrise;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images courtesy of Abrams Planetarium. Subscriptions to the sky calendar ar  $11.00 per year, starting anytime, from Sky Calendar, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, 755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824 or online.

Sat. Nov. 17, one hour before sunrise;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Images courtesy of Abrams Planetarium. Subscriptions to the sky calendar ar  $11.00 per year, starting anytime, from Sky Calendar, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, 755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824 or online.

Thurs. Nov. 22, 1 hr before sunrise;

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images courtesy of Abrams Planetarium. Subscriptions to the sky calendar ar  $11.00 per year, starting anytime, from Sky Calendar, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, 755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824 or online.

Tue. Nov. 27, 1 hour before sunrise;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Images courtesy of Abrams Planetarium. Subscriptions to the sky calendar ar  $11.00 per year, starting anytime, from Sky Calendar, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, 755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824 or online.

Wed. Nov. 28, 1 hour after sunset;

Images courtesy of Abrams Planetarium. Subscriptions to the sky calendar ar  $11.00 per year, starting anytime, from Sky Calendar, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, 755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824 or online.

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.

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