Home > Ephemeris Program, Planets > 11/18/2015 – Ephemeris – The planet action is in the morning

11/18/2015 – Ephemeris – The planet action is in the morning

November 18, 2015

Ephemeris for Wednesday, November 18th.  The Sun will rise at 7:43.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 28 minutes, setting at 5:12.   The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 11:57 this evening.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  Saturn is about to depart the evening sky.  It’s too close to the direction of the Sun to spot.  Mercury passed behind the Sun yesterday and is entering the evening sky.  In the morning sky there are three bright planets.  Jupiter will be the first to rise, at 1:50 a.m. in the east-northeast.  Mars will rise next at 3:04 a.m. in the east, followed by Venus at 3:45 a.m. also in the east.  Mars lies in line between Venus below and Jupiter above, a bit more than a third the way from Venus to Jupiter.  These three planets will continue to pull apart.  Nearly in line with the planets are the bright stars Regulus to the upper right and Spica to the lower left.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Mercury passed behind the Sun in a superior conjunction yesterday the 17th.  The Sun actually occulted Mercury, though that couldn’t be seen.  Below is a SOHO LASCO C2 coronagraph GIF animation from the 14th to the 17th showing Mercury entering on the right and disappearing behind the disk that hides the Sun’s photosphere.  The white circle in the center shows the position and size of the Sun.  The plane of Mercury’s orbit crosses the plane of the Earth’s orbit where the Earth is in early November and again 6 months later in early May.  It happens that next May 9th Mercury will pass in front of the Sun, an event called a transit, that will be visible here.  It will start at 7:13 a.m. (11:13 UT) and end at 2:44 p.m. (18:44 UT).  Transits of Mercury are not as spectacular or as rare as those of Venus.  I’ll have more on the transit when the date draws close.

Mercury in a coronagraph

A GIF animation from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory LASCO C2 coronagraph for November 14th to the 17th. Mercury will enter from the right. Credit ESA/NASA – LASCO/NRL SOHO team.

Morning planets

Jupiter, Mars and Venus appear in the southeast at 6 a.m., November 19, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Jupiter and its moons in a telescope at 6 a.m., November 19, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Venus

Venus as seen in a telescope at 6 a.m. November 19, 2015. This is at the same scale as the Jupiter image above. Created using Stellarium.

The planets at sunrise and sunset

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for November 18, 2015 showing the location of the planets and the Moon at that time. Created using my LookingUp program. Click on the image to enlarge.

%d bloggers like this: