EYES TO THE SKY: Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Moon at dusk. Mars, Mercury dawn
November 25 – December 8, 2019
Mount Washington — It is a jamboree, a planetary spree out there within the hour after sunset and, with different heavenly bodies, within the hour before sunrise. Venus and Jupiter, the brightest celestial objects next to the Sun and Moon, are a dynamic pair to observe at dusk close above the horizon in the southwest. Mercury, in the east at dawn, shines with unusual splendor after its Nov. 11 transit of the Sun. The little planet shares its best morning apparition of the year with Mars and bright star Spica.
As we approach the very shortest days of the year, the times of both dusk and dawn seem to belong more to daytime than night. For dusk, add an hour to sunset time, which is close to 4:20 p.m. – the earliest of the year – and take away an hour from sunrise, which is within minutes of 7 a.m. These are splendid times to enjoy the outdoors and to include children.
This evening, the 25th, brilliant Venus and bright Jupiter shine side by side close above the southwestern horizon. Every day this week, Venus can be seen higher above the skyline as Jupiter loses altitude. Saturn appears diagonally to the left and 10 degrees above Venus. Ten degrees can be approximated by extending a fist at arm’s length between the two heavenly bodies. Begin to look 45 minutes after sunset.
New moon occurs tomorrow, the 26th. A delicate, waxing crescent climbs into view below Venus and Jupiter on the 27th, promising a spectacular sight close to the southwest horizon if you can catch it before moonset at 5:27 p.m. On Thursday the 28th, see the crescent near Venus. Moonset on the 28th is at 6:17 p.m. and about an hour later each night going forward.
Continue planetary observations on the opposite horizon first thing in the morning. In the hour before sunrise, the remaining two naked-eye planets – bright Mercury and dimmer, red Mars – sketch a showy diagonal with blue-white star Spica in the southeast. Thanks to Ade Ashford and Astronomy Now, an outstanding print and online astronomy publication from the UK, for the animation and accompanying text. Note that observing from the British Isles is, in this instance, accurate for our latitude.
Latitude comparisons world cities
http://i.imgur.com/yIe8gWy.jpg and https://brilliantmaps.com/cities-transposed-latitude/