"Our Moon Visits Mars; Venus and Mercury Pair Up Just After Sunset, and; Saturn Gets Ready for New Year's Eve!"

Scheduled air date: 2003 Nov 24-30

Mercury—the planet closest to the Sun—is making an appearance low in the evening sky over the next few weeks.  It will reach Greatest Eastern Elongation (farthest apparent separation from the Sun) on December 9th, then begin heading back toward the Sun and becoming lost in its glare by the end of this year.
The brilliant planet Venus is still shining as the "Evening Star," and will be visited by the Waxing Crescent Moon on the evening of November 25th.  The Moon will then make its way to a visit with the planet Mars—which has become more distant and fainter with each day since its close encounter with Earth in August—on the evening of December 1st.
(Shown about 45 minutes after sunset for mid-Northern latitudes.)

As December opens, the ringed planet Saturn is visible in the eastern sky a couple of hours after sunset.  On December 10th the Waning Gibbous Moon will appear next to Saturn.  At the end of December Saturn will be closer to Earth and appear brighter than it will again until 2030.
(Shown about two hours after sunset on December 10th for mid-Northern latitudes.)

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

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