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This Week's Planet Roundup
1 year ago

Jupiter on Nov. 5, 2012
The Great Red Spot's side of Jupiter is busy indeed. On November 5th, when Christopher Goshot this superb image from his low latitude in the Philippines, the orange ring of Oval BA and the little dark-red dot following it had finished passing south of (above) the Great Red Spot. Huge turbulence roils the South Equatorial Belt behind the Great Red Spot.

The South Temperate Belt is barely visible along some of its length but prominent elsewhere. Four white ovals dot the South South Temperate Belt. On the north (lower) side of the planet, the North Equatorial and North Temperate belts have become cleanly separated by the North Tropical Zone's return to whiteness. Blue festoons — apparently gaps between clouds — intrude into the bright Equatorial Zone north of the Great Red Spot.

Mercuryis lost in the glare of the Sun.

Venus (magnitude –3.9, in Virgo) rises in the east in darkness an hour before the first glimmer of dawn. By dawn it's shining brightly fairly high.

Look for much-fainter Spica below Venus or, later in the week, to its lower right or right.

Mars (magnitude +1.2, moving from Ophiuchus to Sagittarius) remains low in the southwest in evening twilight.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.8, in Taurus) rises in the east-northeast in late twilight now, with Aldebaran to its right and dimmer El Nath (Beta Tauri) farther to its left. Above Aldebaran are the Pleiades. The whole arrangement climbs into fine view as the evening advances.

Saturn (magnitude +0.6, in Virgo) is emerging into dawn view low in the east. Look for it below or lower left of bright Venus. They appear closer together every day.

Uranus (magnitude 5.8, in Pisces) and Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Aquarius) are conveniently placed in the south in early to mid-evening. Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune.

All descriptions that relate to your horizon — including the words up, down, right, and left — are written for the world's mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that also depend on longitude (mainly Moon positions) are for North America. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) equals Universal Time (also known as UT, UTC, or GMT) minus 4 hours. Eastern Standard Time is UT minus 5 hours.

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