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November Skychart

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The sky chart is designed to correspond to the sky at 10 p.m. the first of the month, 9 p.m. in the middle of the month, and 8 p.m. at the end of the month , standard time.

All month: The planets continue their move to the morning sky in November. Saturn became a morning star on the last day of October, Venus is at its best this month, and Mars continues to brighten and rises earlier.

In contrast, the planets have just about deserted the evening sky. Mercury and Jupiter are east of the sun, but not far enough to be seen after sundown.

Conditions in the fall generally favor morning planets, and things come together nicely this year. Venus is brilliant in the east all month, visible from 3 a.m. on, depending on the weather. Mars rises about an hour earlier, but it is much dimmer than Venus and you may not see it till it rises higher. Saturn is not visible early in November, but by month's end the favorable tilt of its orbit brings it up nearly two hours before the sun. Look below Venus just at daybreak.

Nov. 1: A busy day for the moon today. The crescent is up bright and early (about 2:30 a.m.) near the border between Virgo and Leo, to the right of Denebola, the star that marks the Lion's tail. Late in the day on Monday the moon is at perigee (nearest Earth) and in conjunction with Mars. At 1 a.m., EST on Tuesday it is in conjunction with Venus. As the moon climbs up the eastern sky at dawn, Venus and Mars are to its right and a little down. Venus is very bright and Mars a second-magnitude object close above it.

Nov. 2-3: The rising crescent moon is favorably placed on these two mornings to be seen in the eastern sky at dawn. Because its orbit is angled steeply to the horizon, the thin moon is well above the horizon at sunrise. It will be easy to see on Wednesday morning. Spotting it Thursday will be a bit harder, but very likely with a little help from the weather.

Nov. 4: New moon occurs today, near the border between Virgo and Libra, shortly after the moon passes Saturn. Venus is at greatest westerly elongation, its maximum distance to the sun's right during this cycle of its configurations. Its elongation, its brilliancy (not noticeably different from its maximum), and the steep inclination of its orbit to the horizon combine early this month to produce exceptionally good viewing conditions. Venus rises about 2:30 a.m., four hours before the sun, and remains visible until half an hour before the sun comes up.


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