No need for binoculars. Five planets in our solar system will be bright enough to be seen with the human eye in the month of November. Here’s how to spot them.
Searching at night
Throughout the month, look for Mars, Jupiter and Saturn at nightfall. The bright “star” in the eastern sky will be Mars. The bright “star” in the western sky will be Jupiter. Although not as bright as its neighbor, Saturn will be seen 5 degrees to the east of Jupiter (or the width of two fingers at arm’s length).
Here’s a look at how the stars in the western sky will be grouped.
FUN FACT: Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all known as superior planets, or planets that orbit the sun outside of Earth’s orbit.
Searching in the morning
Venus is the brightest “star” in the predawn/dawn hours, outshining Mercury by a factor of 70 in the early part of the month. Mercury can be found beneath Venus, closer to the horizon, about an hour or more before sunrise in the central United States. Although relatively overshadowed by Venus early, Mercury does brighten and climb higher in the sky as the month progresses.
FUN FACT: Both Venus and Mercury are known as inferior planets, or planets that orbit the sun inside of Earth’s orbit.
For more information on this month’s celestial events, visit Earthsky.org.