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View Saturn After Sundown This Month

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View Saturn After Sundown This Month

Saturn still lingers forlornly in the southwest after dusk. But you’ll have to catch it early, as the ringed planet sets more than an hour after dark at the beginning of the month, but before the end of evening twilight by November 30th.

How Can I View Saturn This Month?
There are several opportunities to spot Saturn this month.

Saturn-Moon-Mercury Trio
On the evening of November 20, about 40 minutes after sunset, look about 10° above the west-southwest horizon to sight a slender sliver of a crescent Moon (just 5-percent illuminated) sitting to the right and slightly above Saturn.

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At the same time, Mercury will be hovering near the west-southwest horizon, directly below the Moon and Saturn. Speaking of Mercury, it is putting in its poorest apparition of the year for Northern Hemisphere viewers, even though it’s a very good one for people who live south of the equator. Northerners will have their best shot at the zero magnitude planet in the second half of the month, when they may glimpse it very low in the southwest about 40 minutes after sunset.

Fun Fact: Like Jupiter, Saturn is a gas giant and is composed of gasses including hydrogen, helium and methane.

This rocky world reaches greatest elongation on November 23rd, when it will be 22-degrees east of the Sun and will set within 1¼ hours after sundown. This is a relatively unfavorable apparition for northern observers, because the ecliptic makes a small angle with the horizon during autumn evenings.

Saturn-Mercury Conjunction
Finally, on November 28th, use binoculars to scan near the west-southwest horizon to find Mercury about 40 minutes after sunset along with Saturn and to its lower left. Mercury will be glowing almost twice as bright as Saturn.

Learn more about Saturn, the ringed planet here.

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