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Mercury

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

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

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.

Mars during November 2013

Mars during November 2013 - pdf format

Jupiter

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.

Jupiter during November 2013

Jupiter during November 2013 - pdf format

Saturn

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

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.

Uranus during November 2013

Uranus during November 2013 - pdf format

Neptune

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.

Neptune Finder Chart for November 2013

Neptune Finder Chart for November 2013 - pdf format

Solar System Data Table November 2013

 DateRight AscensionDeclinationApparent MagnitudeApparent SizeIllum. (%)Distance from Earth (AU)Constellation
Sun5th Nov 201314h 40m 23.3s-15d 36m 02.7s-26.832.3'1000.992Libra
Sun15th Nov 201315h 20m 44.6s-18d 25m 02.8s-26.832.3'1000.989Libra
Sun25th Nov 201316h 02m 28.8s-20d 41m 40.8s-26.832.4'1000.987Scorpius
Mercury5th Nov 201314h 13m 49.3s-12d 51m 33.7s3.609.6"040.698Virgo
Mercury15th Nov 201314h 09m 15.5s-10d 34m 01.9s-0.407.3"470.918Virgo
Mercury25th Nov 201314h 51m 54.3s-14d 27m 55.0s-0.705.8"791.159Libra
Venus5th Nov 201317h 57m 33.2s-27d 08m 47.3s-4.626.1"470.639Sagittarius
Venus15th Nov 201318h 39m 22.1s-26d 50m 56.7s-4.729.6"420.564Sagittarius
Venus25th Nov 201319h 15m 44.8s-25d 41m 39.4s-4.834.1"350.490Sagittarius
Mars5th Nov 201310h 55m 27.7s08d 35m 37.0s1.505.0"931.889Leo
Mars15th Nov 201311h 16m 39.4s06d 29m 34.6s1.405.2"921.806Leo
Mars25th Nov 201311h 37m 07.6s04d 25m 00.1s1.305.4"911.719Leo
Jupiter5th Nov 201307h 27m 50.8s21d 53m 38.4s-2.441.8"994.714Gemini
Jupiter15th Nov 201307h 27m 27.4s21d 55m 44.8s-2.543.1"994.577Gemini
Jupiter25th Nov 201307h 25m 39.8s22d 00m 48.6s-2.544.2"1004.456Gemini
Saturn5th Nov 201314h 48m 14.6s-13d 58m 40.2s0.715.3"10010.858Libra
Saturn15th Nov 201314h 52m 57.8s-14d 19m 49.0s0.715.3"10010.849Libra
Saturn25th Nov 201314h 57m 38.5s-14d 40m 00.1s0.715.4"10010.814Libra
Uranus5th Nov 201300h 34m 38.1s02d 57m 05.8s5.703.7"10019.203Pisces
Uranus15th Nov 201300h 33m 34.2s02d 50m 34.7s5.803.6"10019.311Pisces
Uranus25th Nov 201300h 32m 44.5s02d 45m 37.9s5.803.6"10019.442Pisces
Neptune5th Nov 201322h 18m 30.7s-11d 15m 20.5s7.902.3"10029.630Aquarius
Neptune15th Nov 201322h 18m 25.8s-11d 15m 40.0s7.902.3"10029.797Aquarius
Neptune25th Nov 201322h 18m 33.9s-11d 14m 45.6s7.902.3"10029.969Aquarius