Morning Closeness-Conjunction Style

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Before sunrise this Monday morning, 18 November, there will be several areas of interest to view, all of which have something in common – a celestial object appearing close to another celestial object. This graphic is a somewhat distorted view of the sky above the horizon stretching from the southwest to nearly the eastern horizon and shows the sky at 630 am CST.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   In the west and setting is the waning gibbous Moon about 3-4 degrees from the reddish star Aldebaran one the eyes of Taurus the Bull. The reflected light from the just past full Moon will drown out many of the stars near Aldebaran, the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades.
   This graphic is a simulated view of the pair through 7×50 binoculars at 630 am CST.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Over the eastern horizon you can easily see the bluish-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden. Less than 2 degrees down to the left from Spica is Comet ISON. Spica, with an apparent magnitude of nearly 1.0, far outshines Comet ISON which by this morning may have reached 4th to 5th magnitude.
   This graphic is a simulated view of the pair through 7×50 binoculars at 630 am CST.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   A little lower, closer to the horizon, is another close pair of celestial objects. This is the planet Mercury and Comet Encke. As with Spica and Comet ISON there is a sharp contrast in the apparent magnitudes of Mercury and Comet Encke. Mercury which currently is at greatest western elongation shines at around -0.5 magnitude, while Comet Encke is between 4th and 5th magnitudes. Both are separated by less than 2 fegrees.
   This graphic is a simulated view of the pair through 7×50 binoculars at 630 am CST.

   
   
   
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

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