HomeNewsAstronomy and SpaceThe Sky This Week from November 26 to December 3

The Sky This Week from November 26 to December 3

Monday, November 29

The early-morning hours between midnight and dawn are the most effective time to look at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko because it skims by way of Cancer the Crab. Currently about ninth magnitude, this periodic comet is lower than 7.5° north of the middle of the Beehive Cluster (M44) tonight. Recent observations have reported a coma diameter of about 5′.

M44 is a scattered open cluster seen to the bare eye at magnitude 3.7, spanning about 1.5°. Also known as Praesepe, or the Manger, historic Greeks and Romans noticed it because the define of this namesake construction within the sky. It accommodates about 350 stars between 500 and 600 light-years away, all of that are roughly 730 million years outdated. Researchers assume that this cluster and the Hyades in Taurus could have the identical origin, regardless of their disparate areas at the moment.

Sunrise: 7:01 A.M.
Sunset: 4:36 P.M.
Moonrise: 1:15 A.M.
Moonset: 1:59 P.M.
Moon Phase: Waning crescent (27%)

Tuesday, November 30

Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are nonetheless lined up properly within the night sky, seen for no less than two hours after the Sun disappears. It’s exhausting to overlook them — significantly Venus, which is blazing a vivid magnitude –4.9 amid the celebrities of Sagittarius the Archer. Just over 18° to Venus’ east is Saturn, a a lot dimmer magnitude 0.6 in opposition to the backdrop of Capricornus. And merely look 16.5° east of Saturn to identify Jupiter, shining at magnitude –2.3. It now sits barely greater than 2° northeast of the star Deneb Algedi.

Venus is the primary to set, so let’s give attention to it first as effectively. Its disk at the moment spans some 39″ and is rather less than 30 p.c lit. We see Venus undergo phases — identical to the Moon — as a result of it’s nearer to the Sun than Earth. The floor itself is shrouded in a thick ambiance of poisonous gases, so photos by way of a telescope usually present little element from these cloud tops.

Saturn, which seems 16″ across, is flanked by its magnificent ring system, stretching 35″ throughout. Titan, the biggest and brightest of its moons, is usually obvious in binoculars or a telescope. It sits about 52″ south of the planet tonight.

Jupiter seems 38″ throughout and, relying on if you decide it up within the darkening sky, could also be present process a transit because the icy moon Ganymede crosses its face. The transit begins earlier than darkish within the japanese US and continues till simply earlier than 8:30 P.M. EST, when the planet remains to be effectively above the horizon. Ganymede’s massive shadow slips onto the disk simply after 10 P.M. EST and takes greater than three hours to cross it.

Once it exits the disk to the planet’s west, Ganymede joins Io (subsequent in line from the planet) and Europa and Callisto. Once once more, timing is the whole lot — round 7:44 P.M. EST, Europa seems 7.5″ south of Callisto because it “overtakes” the extra distant moon, shifting from east to west. So, earlier than this time, Europa seems nearer to Jupiter than Callisto. Afterward, it’s the final moon out within the line of 4.

Sunrise: 7:02 A.M.
Sunset: 4:35 P.M.
Moonrise: 2:24 A.M.
Moonset: 2:25 P.M.
Moon Phase: Waning crescent (18%)

Wednesday, December 1
Planet Neptune is stationary in opposition to the background stars at 5 P.M. EST. Floating in Aquarius the Water-bearer, you’ll discover the solar system’s most distant planet already 40° excessive an hour after sundown. You’ll want binoculars or a small scope to identify the magnitude 7.7 planet, which spans a mere 2″ on the sky. Neptune’s diminutive dimension is because of its distance, because it at the moment sits roughly 2.8 billion miles (4.5 billion kilometers) from Earth.

To find the planet, first discover 4th-magnitude Phi (φ) Aquarii, then look 3° east-northeast for a small, “flat” star that glows a uninteresting gray-blue. That’s Neptune. During November, the planet was shifting southwest, inching nearer to Phi. Now, it’s going to reverse course, sliding northeast and slowly growing its distance from the star.

Sunrise: 7:03 A.M.
Sunset: 4:35 P.M.
Moonrise: 3:37 A.M.
Moonset: 2:53 P.M.
Moon Phase: Waning crescent (10%)

Thursday December 2

This morning, step outdoors simply earlier than dawn to catch sight of Mars and the skinny crescent Moon about 6° aside. Our Moon is a barely illuminated 5 p.c lit, whereas Mars glows a smooth magnitude 1.6. The Red Planet at the moment spans 4″ on the sky and sits in Libra. If you catch the pair about an hour earlier than dawn, when the brighter stars are nonetheless seen, you’ll see that our satellite sits near magnitude 2.8 Zubenelgenubi, the constellation’s alpha star. Mars lies inside 2.5° of 4th-magnitude Iota (ι) Librae, and is 8.8° due south of Zubenesch, Libra’s magnitude 2.6 beta star.

Later at the moment, whereas each are under the horizon, the Moon passes 0.7° north of Mars at 7 P.M. EST. By tomorrow morning, it will likely be simply over 8° east of Mars, having crossed the border into Scorpius and nearing the Sun.

Sunrise: 7:04 A.M.
Sunset: 4:35 P.M.
Moonrise: 4:53 A.M.
Moonset: 3:27 P.M.
Moon Phase: Waning crescent (4%)

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