This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, November 18th, and Thursday, November 19th, written by Louis Suarato.
The 17% illuminated, waxing crescent Moon sets at 7:42 p.m., Wednesday. Before setting, Saturn, Jupiter, and the crescent Moon form a sweeping arc pointing down to the southwestern horizon after sunset. Thursday night, the crescent Moon and two gas giants form an acute triangle. Look for the Moon 5 degrees to the left of Saturn and 8 degrees to the left of Jupiter. Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede will emerge from eclipse at 7:11 p.m., and Callisto’s transit will end at 8:39 , Thursday night. Mars remains bright in the constellation Pisces from dusk until dawn. Venus rises at 4:11 a.m. in the constellation Virgo. Virgo’s brightest star, Spica is 5 degrees to the south of Venus. The bright star to the upper left of Venus is Bootës’ brightest star, Arcturus. Mercury rises at 5:24 a.m., 14 degrees below Venus.
Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) has recently reported to be as bright as magnitude 7.5. The Comet is making its way through the constellation Orion. Orion can be seen above the southwestern horizon before dawn. Thursday morning, look for Comet ATLAS 3 degrees to the west of the star Meissa. Meissa, or Heka, is at the right shoulder of the Hunter, above brighter Bellatrix. On November 14, the comet made its closest approach to Earth, speeding at the rate of 32,019 miles per hour, and at the distance of 33, 313,846 miles. The comet moves across the sky at the width of the Full Moon every 6 hours. The comet’s coma is estimated to be 211,00 miles wide. Comet ATLAS will not return to the vicinity of our planet until the tear 2159.
Wednesday evening, while Saturn, Jupiter and the crescent Moon are pointing down at the Southwestern horizon, there will be a short, 2nd magnitude pass of the International Space Station below them. The ISS will emerge from the south-southwestern horizon at 6:15 p.m., and will rise southward toward the star Fomalhaut in the constellation Piscis Austrinus, where it will disappear into Earth’s shadow.