Mark Alan Lovewell

Last Chance Four Planets
This weekend is probably your last chance to see all four visible planets lined up in the southwestern sky right after sunset.
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Four Planets

Four of the visible planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mercury, will appear together in the southwestern skies a short time after sunset.

We’ve been watching Venus, the brightest of them all for weeks. Jupiter is the second brightest and appears above and to the left of Venus. Look in between Venus and Jupiter for the bright planet Saturn.

These three have been staging a pleasant show throughout the fall.

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Comet Leonard
The faint comet, Comet Leonard, will appear right under the planet Venus tomorrow night.
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Geminid Meteor Shower
The Geminids Meteor Shower, usually the largest meteor shower of the year takes place next Monday night.
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Mars
We’ve missed the red planet Mars. For much of this year until late summer, Mars hung high in our southern and southwestern sky in the evening.
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Moon and Gemini
On Wednesday night the bright gibbous moon appears in the zodiacal constellation Gemini.
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Near Total Lunar Eclipse
In the late evening of Thursday, Nov. 18, or more closely to Friday morning beginning at 2:18 a.m. the moon will noticeably appear to move into the Earth’s shadow.
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Crescent Moon and Venus

The crescent moon and Venus will appear together as a pair low in the southwestern sky on Sunday night. The two are close enough to draw an extra gaze from those unaware of the astronomical meeting. The two celestial objects are moving through the zodiacal constellation Sagittarius, the southernmost zodiacal constellation.

The two are a pretty sight in this first night of Standard time. You’ll see them before the dinner hour.

The moon spends the rest of the coming week going through the zodiacal constellations Capricornus and then onto Aquarius.

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Crescent Moon and Mercury

The best astronomical next week is in the early morning skies. On Monday morning look for a thin crescent moon high in the eastern sky before sunrise. In the next three mornings, the moon will appear to descend towards the horizon. Take your pick for a pretty scene.

On Wednesday morning, an hour before sunrise, look for a thin crescent moon right above the horizon and next to the planet Mercury. The two are so close, close enough to have a conversation.

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Mercury in the Morning

The most difficult visible planet isn’t the farthest from us, it is almost always the one too close to the sun. The planet Mercury shines above the eastern skyline each morning in the week ahead.

Mercury is tough. But this weekend, Mercury will be easy. Astronomers point out that this is the best apparition of the Sun’s closest planet Mercury.

There are only two requirements for seeing this planet. Get up early in the morning well before sunrise, and the eastern sky has to be clear.

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