Nov 7, 2020

Look Up- All Seven Planets Will Be Visible In The Night Sky This Week

This week, the solar system will present a show to the sky watchers, with all seven planets beyond the Earth visible in the night sky at some point in the next seven days. Venus will be the brightest of the planets, but Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will be visible to the naked eye, and Uranus and Neptune will be visible through binoculars. Mars, Saturn and Jupiter will be better visible in the evenings and, assuming the clouds don’t cover the sky, Venus will be absolutely spectacular in the morning sky.

Without the need for a telescope or a binocular, all planets except Neptune and Uranus, will appear as stars, or points of light against the dark night or the early morning sky. Neptune will barely be apparent with binoculars or a small telescope around 9 hours after sunset, and Uranus will ‘only’ be visible with an unaided eye on a very dark night.Venus and Mercury will be best seen in the morning sky, well before dawn, and Venus will be the third brightest astronomical body after the sun and moon.

Throughout November, Venus in its faster orbit around the sun will be going farther and farther away from Earth. As viewed through the telescope, Venus’ waxing gibbous phase will widen, yet its overall disk size will shrink. Venus’ disk is 81% illuminated in early November, and 88% illuminated by the month’s end; Venus’ angular diameter, on the other hand, will shrink to about 89% of its initial size by late November.

Watch for the waning crescent moon to shine with Venus (and Mercury) in the morning sky for several days, centered around November 12 or 13.

Mercury showcases a fine morning apparition for the Northern Hemisphere during the first several weeks of November 2020. Moreover, the dazzling planet Venus serves as your guide “star” to Mercury, which looms closer to the horizon. Mercury reaches its greatest morning elongation of 19 degrees west of the sun on November 10, yet remains at least 18 degrees west of the sun from November 5 to 16, 2020. Be sure to view the waning crescent moon joining up with these two worlds for several days, centered around November 12 or 13, 2020.

What do we mean by bright planet? By bright planet, we mean any solar system planet that is easily visible without an optical aid and that has been watched by our ancestors since time immemorial. In their outward order from the sun, the five bright planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. These planets actually do appear bright in our sky. They are typically as bright as – or brighter than – the brightest stars. Plus, these relatively nearby worlds tend to shine with a steadier light than the distant, twinkling stars. You can spot them, and come to know them as faithful friends, if you try.

silhouette of a man against the sunset sky with bright planet and crescent moon.

Skywatcher, by Predrag Agatonovic.

Bottom line: November 2020 presents 3 bright planets in the evening sky: Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, plus 2 bright planets in the morning sky: Venus and Mercury.

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