Looking east-southeast at dawn

Watch the waning crescent Moon pass Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in the eastern sky at dawn. For clarity, the Moon is shown four times larger than its actual angular size in the sky. (These scenes are drawn for the middle of North America; European observers should move each Moon symbol a quarter of the way toward the one for the previous date.)

S&T diagram.

During the second week of November, Venus and Jupiter remain close to each other. They blaze at magnitudes –4.0 and –1.7, respectively, and rise in the east about three hours before the Sun for observers at midnorthern latitudes. On the 4th and 5th they were close; their appulse (closest approach to each other) occurred around 2h Universal Time on November 5th.

The two planets rapidly pull away from each other after November 5th — Jupiter appears higher, Venus lower, each day. But they are still close enough together to form dramatic arrangements with the Moon on November 9th and 10th.

Also interesting is Venus’s passage by stars in Virgo during the month. Venus glides ½° from Eta (h) Virginis on November 2nd and 1° from Gamma (g) Virginis, or Porrima, on November 6th. This latter morning Gamma Virginis is 2° from Jupiter, which itself is still only 1½° from Venus. On November 17th Venus is closest to Virgo’s 1st-magnitude star Spica, but the separation is considerable, 3.9°.


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