November's Guide to Bright Planets
Welcome to the Sky Watch for November 2019. Here is your guide to see the bright planets and other beautiful happenings in the night sky from Bob Berman.
Sky Watch November 2019
by Bob Berman, as featured in The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Venus and Jupiter Conjunction
What a treat. The two brightest planets, Jupiter and Venus pair up this month in the western sky.
Dazzling Jupiter shines bright from dusk until early evening—and Venus sits below the Giant Planet most of the month.
You’ll know which is which because Venus is the brightest planet in the sky and Jupiter is the second brightest (and brighter than any star).
On November 24, Venus and Jupiter meet up for a beautiful conjuntion, hovering side-by-side in the west after sunset, but quite low in twilight.
At the month’s end, Venus will have moved above Jupiter in the evening sky and the brightest planet of them all will reign again over the night sky.
The Moon floats just above brilliant Venus on the 28th.
On November 1 and November 2, Saturn will be easy to find. Look for the crescent Moon and that’s Saturn nearby! Read more details on the Moon and Saturn meet-up.
For the rest of the month, Saturn shines brightly in the night sky, emerging after sunset and then dipping back below the horizon around 9 P.M.
The Ringed Planet isn’t as bright as Jupiter so use Jupiter to find Saturn. Put out your arm and make a fist. Saturn is a good two fist-widths to the east of Jupiter. The Ringed Planet will be the only bright “star” in that part of the sky.
- From the 1st to the 14th, returning Mars rises low in the predawn east, shortly before the Sun. The orange planet meets Virgo’s blue star, Spica.
- During the month’s second half, bright Mercury appears below Mars.
- On the 24th, the crescent Moon hovers to the left of Mars, with Mercury below.
- On the 25th, a predawn lineup has blue Spica highest, above orange Mars, then orange Mercury, and finally the Moon, lowest.
The big news this month is the Mercury Transit.
Mercury transits the Sun’s face on November 11, starting at 7:37 A.M. and continuing for over 5 hours.
As the planet shifts from the evening sky to the morning sky, it passes directly in front of the Sun’s disk, appearing as a small black dot.
All of the United States (except Alaska) and Canada can see at least part of it (a “solar telescope” and proper eye protection is required).
I’ll write more about this event in the next week.
The Full Moon of November
The Full Moon reaches peak fullness in the morning of Tuesday, November 12, at 8:34 A.M. EST. Look for it the night before or just after sunset on the 12th.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac calls this the Full Beaver Moon. See the November Moon Guide for facts and folklore.
Go to the Almanac rise/set calculator to find out when the Moon and planets rise and set in your sky.