Skywatch Line for Wednesday, November 24, and Thursday, November 25, 2021

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Wednesday, November 24, and Thursday, November 25, written by Alan French.

The Sun sets at 4:26 P.M. on Wednesday and rises at 7:00 A.M. Thursday. Sunset is at 4:25 Thursday and sunrise on Friday at 7:01.

A waning gibbous Moon rises in the evening. On Wednesday night a 73% illuminated Moon rises at 8:38 in the northeast. Thursday morning, look for it high in the southwest as the Sun rises.

Moonrise on Thursday night is at 9:42 when the 63% sunlit Moon rises in the northeast. Look for it high toward the southwest as the Sun rises Friday. The Moon will reach last quarter on Saturday.

At 5:30 P.M. bright Jupiter will be due south and 33-degrees above the horizon. Brilliant Venus, still catching up with our Earth in its trip around the Sun along its faster, inner orbit, will be low in the southwest, just over 12-degrees above the horizon. Between the two, closer to Jupiter, will be fainter Saturn.

There are low passes of the International Space Station across the northern sky both nights. Wednesday’s is lower, but the skies are darker, Thursday’s is slightly higher but earlier, so the skies are brighter with evening twilight. With a good view to the northwest to north, both should be easy to spot.

On Wednesday the ISS will first appear between 6:01 and 6:02 low in the west northwest. Its path will take it along the Big Dipper, low in the northern sky. The ISS will pass above the end star in the Dipper’s handle at 6:03, and then travel above the handle bowl, moving toward the east. By 6:04 the space station will be past the top front star in the bowl, and will then move into the Earth’s shadow and fade from view.

The station’s path Thursday will be similar but higher. Look for it, appearing as a moving star, low in the west southwest between 5:14 and 5:15. It will be in the northwest, about to pass above the end of the Big Dipper’s handle at 5:15:30, and will pass above the end of the handle just before 5:16. After passing above the bowl the ISS will move down to the northeastern horizon, moving into the Earth’s shadow just after it passes brilliant Capella. Viewing through the thicker layer of our atmosphere near the horizon, you may lose sight of it before you can watch it move into the shadow.

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