Mercury passes through inferior conjunction on November 1st and is therefore too close to the Sun in the sky to be visible. However, the planet moves fast and just over two weeks later on November 18th, it reaches greatest western elongation (19 degrees). As a result, Mercury is observable from northern temperate and tropical latitudes as an early morning object from about the second week of November until the beginning of December. This also happens to be the most favourable morning apparition of the year for observers at these latitudes. For example, from 52N (e.g. London, England), the planet will be 10 degrees above the southeast horizon about 45 minutes before sunrise on November 18th. Mercury altitude then decreases each following day until it's lost to morning twilight in early December. The planet is at its brightest after greatest western elongation; for example brightening from magnitude +0.7 to -0.7 between November 10th and 30th. For southern hemisphere observers, Mercury is inconveniently low down during this time.
Mercury (mag. -0.7) passes 0.3 degrees south of Saturn (mag. +0.7) on November 26th.
Venus reaches greatest elongation east on November 1st when the planet is situated 47 degrees from the Sun. It remains a stunning object after sunset during November from the tropics and the southern hemisphere. Even at the end of the month Venus still sets over 3 hours after the Sun from these latitudes.
However, northern hemisphere based observers have not had it so good during this apparition of Venus. Although visible, Venus has been very low down above the west-southwest horizon after sunset. During November, the situation does improve slightly with Venus becoming a lovely sight towards the southwestern horizon at dusk by months end.
The magnitude of Venus increases from -4.4 to -4.6 during November with the planets phase decreasing from 50% to 31%. The waxing crescent Moon passes 8 degrees north of Venus early on November 6th.
Mars continues to gradually improve in brightness and apparent size during November as the distance between us and the "Red planet" continues to decrease. It remains an early morning object during November, starting the month at magnitude +1.5 with an apparent size of 5 arc seconds and ending November at magnitude +1.2 with an apparent size of 5.5 arc seconds.
Telescopically, the apparent size of Mars is still small but now amateur with at least a medium size scope may be able to tease out some of the more prominent markings.
On November 25th Mars moves from Leo into neighbouring Virgo and on the 27th, the waning crescent Moon passes 6 degrees south of Mars.
Jupiter is now a brilliant object amongst the stars of Gemini. The largest planet in the solar system rises in the early evening from northern temperate latitudes, a little later from locations further south, remaining visible for the remainder of the night.
During November, Jupiter brightens from magnitude -2.4 to -2.6 and it's apparent size increases from 41 to 45 arc seconds. Jupiter reaches its first stationary point on November 7th, which signals the start of its 2013/2014 opposition period. After this date it commences retrograde motion.
On November 22nd, the waning gibbous Moon passes 5 degrees south of Jupiter.
Saturn reaches solar conjunction on November 6th. From northern temperate latitudes the planet will be inconveniently placed for observation during November. However, it may be glimpsed from the tropics and southern hemisphere low down just before sunrise towards the east-southeast at the very end of the month.
Uranus reached opposition at the beginning of October and remains well placed for observation during November. It's visible towards the east in Pisces as soon as it's dark enough until the early hours of the morning.
During November, Uranus fades very slightly from magnitude +5.7 to +5.8 but remains a very easy binocular or small telescope target. On November 14th, the waxing gibbous Moon passes 3 degrees north of the planet.
Neptune, mag. +7.9, is located in Aquarius and like Uranus is visible as soon as it's dark enough and remains so until after midnight. It's positioned almost 3 degrees west of Sigma (σ) Aquarii (mag. +4.8).
On November 11th, the first quarter Moon passes 6 degrees north of Neptune and on the 13th the planet reaches its 2nd stationary point, signaling the end of this year's opposition period. It then recommences direct motion.
Solar System Data Table November 2013
|Date||Right Ascension||Declination||Apparent Magnitude||Apparent Size||Illum. (%)||Distance from Earth (AU)||Constellation|
|Sun||5th Nov 2013||14h 40m 23.3s||-15d 36m 02.7s||-26.8||32.3'||100||0.992||Libra|
|Sun||15th Nov 2013||15h 20m 44.6s||-18d 25m 02.8s||-26.8||32.3'||100||0.989||Libra|
|Sun||25th Nov 2013||16h 02m 28.8s||-20d 41m 40.8s||-26.8||32.4'||100||0.987||Scorpius|
|Mercury||5th Nov 2013||14h 13m 49.3s||-12d 51m 33.7s||3.6||09.6"||04||0.698||Virgo|
|Mercury||15th Nov 2013||14h 09m 15.5s||-10d 34m 01.9s||-0.4||07.3"||47||0.918||Virgo|
|Mercury||25th Nov 2013||14h 51m 54.3s||-14d 27m 55.0s||-0.7||05.8"||79||1.159||Libra|
|Venus||5th Nov 2013||17h 57m 33.2s||-27d 08m 47.3s||-4.6||26.1"||47||0.639||Sagittarius|
|Venus||15th Nov 2013||18h 39m 22.1s||-26d 50m 56.7s||-4.7||29.6"||42||0.564||Sagittarius|
|Venus||25th Nov 2013||19h 15m 44.8s||-25d 41m 39.4s||-4.8||34.1"||35||0.490||Sagittarius|
|Mars||5th Nov 2013||10h 55m 27.7s||08d 35m 37.0s||1.5||05.0"||93||1.889||Leo|
|Mars||15th Nov 2013||11h 16m 39.4s||06d 29m 34.6s||1.4||05.2"||92||1.806||Leo|
|Mars||25th Nov 2013||11h 37m 07.6s||04d 25m 00.1s||1.3||05.4"||91||1.719||Leo|
|Jupiter||5th Nov 2013||07h 27m 50.8s||21d 53m 38.4s||-2.4||41.8"||99||4.714||Gemini|
|Jupiter||15th Nov 2013||07h 27m 27.4s||21d 55m 44.8s||-2.5||43.1"||99||4.577||Gemini|
|Jupiter||25th Nov 2013||07h 25m 39.8s||22d 00m 48.6s||-2.5||44.2"||100||4.456||Gemini|
|Saturn||5th Nov 2013||14h 48m 14.6s||-13d 58m 40.2s||0.7||15.3"||100||10.858||Libra|
|Saturn||15th Nov 2013||14h 52m 57.8s||-14d 19m 49.0s||0.7||15.3"||100||10.849||Libra|
|Saturn||25th Nov 2013||14h 57m 38.5s||-14d 40m 00.1s||0.7||15.4"||100||10.814||Libra|
|Uranus||5th Nov 2013||00h 34m 38.1s||02d 57m 05.8s||5.7||03.7"||100||19.203||Pisces|
|Uranus||15th Nov 2013||00h 33m 34.2s||02d 50m 34.7s||5.8||03.6"||100||19.311||Pisces|
|Uranus||25th Nov 2013||00h 32m 44.5s||02d 45m 37.9s||5.8||03.6"||100||19.442||Pisces|
|Neptune||5th Nov 2013||22h 18m 30.7s||-11d 15m 20.5s||7.9||02.3"||100||29.630||Aquarius|
|Neptune||15th Nov 2013||22h 18m 25.8s||-11d 15m 40.0s||7.9||02.3"||100||29.797||Aquarius|
|Neptune||25th Nov 2013||22h 18m 33.9s||-11d 14m 45.6s||7.9||02.3"||100||29.969||Aquarius|