The sky this week from November 26 to December 3
Monday, November 29
The early morning hours between midnight and sunrise are the best time to view Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it hovers overhead Cancer the crab. Currently about 9th magnitude, this periodic comet is within 7.5 ° north of central Amas Beehive (M44) this evening. Recent observations have reported a coma diameter of about 5 ‘.
M44 is a scattered open cluster visible to the naked eye at a magnitude of 3.7, covering approximately 1.5 °. Also called Praesepe, or the manger, the ancient Greeks and Romans saw in it the outline of this namesake structure in the sky. It contains approximately 350 stars located between 500 and 600 light years, all of which are around 730 million years old. Researchers believe that this cluster and the Taurus Hyades may have the same origin, despite their disparate locations today.
Sunset: 4:36 p.m.
Moon setting: 13:59
Moon phase: Descending descending (27%)
Tuesday, November 30
Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are still well aligned in the evening sky, visible for at least two hours after the Sun has disappeared. It’s hard to miss them, especially Venus, which displays a brilliant magnitude of -4.9 amid the stars of Sagittarius the Archer. A little over 18 ° east of Venus is Saturn, a much lower magnitude of 0.6 against the backdrop of Capricorn. And just look 16.5 ° east of Saturn to spot Jupiter, shining at magnitude -2.3. It is now just over 2 ° northeast of the star Deneb Algedi.
Venus is the first to settle down, so let’s focus on that as well. Its disk currently stretches about 39 “and is illuminated at just under 30%. We see Venus going through phases – just like the Moon – because it is closer to the Sun than to the Earth. The surface itself. is shrouded in a thick atmosphere of toxic gas, so images through a telescope usually show little detail of these cloud tops.
Saturn, which appears 16 “in diameter, is flanked by its magnificent system of 35” diameter rings. Titan, the largest and brightest of its moons, can often be seen through binoculars or a telescope. It is approximately 52 “south of the planet tonight.
Jupiter appears at 38 “in diameter and, depending on when you pick it up in the darkening sky, may undergo a transit as the icy moon Ganymede crosses its face. The transit begins before dark in the sky. eastern United States and continues until just before 8:30 p.m. EST, when the planet is still well above the horizon. Ganymede’s great shadow slides across the disc just after 10 p.m. EST and puts more than three hours to cross it.
Once released from the disc in the west of the planet, Ganymede joins Io (the closest to the planet) and Europa and Callisto. Again, timing is of the essence – at around 7:44 PM EST, Europa appears 7.5 “south of Callisto as it” passes “the furthest moon, moving east to west. So before that time , Europa appears closer to Jupiter than Callisto After, it is the last moon in the line of four.
Sunset: 4:35 p.m.
Moon setting: 2:25 p.m.
Moon phase: Descending descending (18%)
Wednesday December 1
Planet neptune stands still against the backdrop of stars at 5:00 p.m. EST. Floating in Aquarius the water carrier, you will find the most distant planet in the solar system already at 40 ° elevation an hour after sunset. You will need binoculars or a small telescope to spot the 7.7 magnitude planet, which stretches barely 2 inches across the sky. Neptune’s small size is due to its distance, as it is currently about 2.8 billion miles (4.5 billion kilometers) from Earth. .
To locate the planet, first find Phi (φ) Aquarii of magnitude 4, then search 3 ° east-northeast for a small “flat” star that shines a dull gray-blue. It’s Neptune. In November, the planet was moving southwest, approaching Phi. Now it will reverse its course, sliding northeast and slowly increasing its distance from the star.
Sunset: 4:35 p.m.
Moon setting: 2:53 p.m.
Moon phase: Descending descending (10%)
Thursday 2 December
This morning, go out just before sunrise to see Mars and the thin crescent moon about 6 ° apart. Our Moon is barely 5% illuminated, while Mars shines with a low magnitude 1.6. The red planet currently spans 4 “in the sky and is in Libra. If you catch the pair about an hour before sunrise, when the brightest stars are still visible, you will see that our satellite is located near magnitude 2.8 Zubenelgenubi, the constellation of the alpha star. Mars lies within 2.5 ° of Libra Iota (ι) of magnitude 4 and lies 8.8 ° south of Zubenesch, l 2.6 magnitude beta star of Libra.
Later in the day, when both are below the horizon, the Moon moves 0.7 ° north of Mars at 7 p.m. EST. By tomorrow morning, it will be a little over 8 ° east of Mars, after crossing the border with Scorpius and approaching the Sun.
Sunset: 4:35 p.m.
Moon setting: 3:27 p.m.
Moon phase: Descending descending (4%)