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12/04/2019 – Ephemeris – Where are the naked-eye planets this week?

December 4, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, December 4th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 59 minutes, setting at 5:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:04. The Moon, at first quarter today, will set at 1:01 tomorrow morning.

Let’s look at the naked-eye planets for this week. Venus will be briefly visible low in the southwest before it sets at 6:54 p.m. Jupiter will be very difficult to spot below and right of Venus. It will set at 6:13 p.m. Saturn, the ringed planet, will be in the southwestern sky in the evening, and will set at 7:37 p.m. Mars is in the morning sky and will rise in the east-southeast at 5:16 a.m. It’s not very bright because it’s 219 million (353 million km) miles away, but it’s getting slowly closer to the Earth. Mercury can be spotted after it rises in the east at 6:25 a.m. This is pretty much the end of its morning visibility, as the planet is moving around and behind the Sun. These oscillations from one side to the other of the Sun take on average of 116 days.

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

Addendum

Evening Planets

Jupiter, Venus and Saturn against a flat horizon tonight at 6 p.m. December 4, 2019. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The slightly gibbous Moon as it might appear in binoculars at 6 p.m. December 4, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic planets

Telescopic views of Venus and Saturn with the same magnification at 6 p.m. tonight December 4, 2019. In the morning, I will show Mars here when it reaches an apparent diameter of 10″ (seconds of arc). It’s currently 4.0″. By the way Venus is 11.8″. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Morning planets

Mars and Mercury in the morning with the star Spica at 7 a.m. December 4, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on December 4, 2019. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 5th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

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