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November 2012 presents all five visible planets, although only Jupiter and Venus are clearly visible all month long. Mars appears but briefly after sunset, and the planets Mercury and Saturn before sunrise.
Only two planets are easily visible throughout November 2012: Jupiter andVenus. Jupiter is moving into prime time, rising in the east-northeast about two hours after sunset in early November and around sunset by the month’s end. Once Jupiter rises, this dazzling world will light up the sky for the rest of the night. In contrast, Venus rises in the east-southeast about three hours before sunrise in early November and about two and one-half hours before sunrise in late November. Be sure to see the conjunction of Venus and the ringed planet Saturn on the morning of November 26!
If you missed seeing the moon close toJupiter on the nights of November 1 and2, you’ll have another chance in late November. Watch the moon and Jupiter shine together all night long on November 28.
If you missed the moon and Venus in the predawn and dawn sky on November 9,10, 11 and moon below Venus and next to Saturn before sunrise Monday, 12, try again at dawn on December 10 and 11.
Easily locate stars and constellations during any day and time with EarthSky’s Planisphere.
The other three visible planets – Mercury,Mars and Saturn – never drift far from the sun’s glare this month. Mercury passes into the November morning sky just after mid-month and will put on a good morning performance (for the Northern Hemisphere) in the final week of November and the first two weeks of December. Mars remains an evening object all month long, though this faint world appears low in the southwest sky after sunset and sets around nightfall.Saturn returns to visibility in the morning sky around the time of the Leonid meteor shower. If you’re diligent, you should be able to catch all five visible planets this month.
Mars may be the hardest visible planet to catch in November. Let the waxing crescent moon guide you to Mars after sunset on November 15 and 16. Circle these dates on your calendar, so you don’t miss out!
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Photo Credit: The planet Jupiter is always bright, but in late November and December 2012 it’s at its brightest. That’s because Earth will pass between Jupiter and the sun on December 2. Jupiter is the brightest object in this wonderful photo byEarthSky Facebook friend Carlos Colon Sr. Thank you, Carlos!