Starwatch: Five visible planets in November

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Starwatch for the week of November 9-15, 2020

This month is great for not only starwatching, but planet-watching too! You will be able to see all five of the bright planets this week including Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. These five planets are easily visible and you don’t need a telescope to find them.  

Ironically, you can group these planets by when they are visible and where they orbit the sun relative to Earth. The November evening planets are Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. These are all superior planets (they orbit the sun outside of Earth’s orbit. While the inferior planets (they orbit the sun inside of Earth’s orbit) are Mercury and Venus and are visible in the morning. 

Mars can be found in the east sky glowing red. Saturn and Jupiter are about 5 degrees apart in the south sky. Five degrees is about the width of two fingers at an arms length from the eye. Saturn and Jupiter set around 10 pm while Mars sets around 4 am.

To find Mercury, find Venus first. You can find Venus by looking low in the east sky just before sunrise. Mercury will be just below Venus. Mercury is very low on the horizon. It will rise a little higher in the sky through mid-November before it falls below the horizon again. 

Thanks to EarthSky 

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