The Moon and Mars meet up on November 15

Mars is now slowly dragging itself over the eastern morning horizon a bit earlier each week as it makes its way towards opposition next July, and this week it meets up with the Moon going in the opposite direction. On the morning of 2017 November 15 (Wednesday) Mars and the Moon create a splendid photo opportunity as they come within 3 degrees of each other in the south-eastern morning sky. The Moon will be a thin waning crescent (New Moon is 3 days later on the November 18) while Mars will be at magnitude +1.8 and sporting a small diameter of 4 arc seconds. At a distance apart on the sky of just 3 degrees they will both fit comfortable in the field of view of a typical pair of medium power binoculars (say 15x70s). From London they will be around 12 degrees above the horizon at 05:00UT under a dark sky (but closer to only 8 degrees up from Glasgow).

Mars rises on this date around 03:30 and the Moon a few minutes earlier. Sunrise is at 07:15 and the start of astronomical twilight at 05:17.

The chart below shows the pair at 05:00. The star to the south-east of the Moon is magnitude 4.4 theta Virginis.

If you have a brilliant eastern horizon and it just happens to be clear (unlikely I know) you may want to also watch Jupiter climb over the horizon at 05:45 (magnitude -1.7), closely followed by brilliant Venus (magnitude -3.9). This pair of planets were closest together on the morning of November 13 at less than half a degree apart but are still within 2 degrees of each other on the 15th..Do take care if you are searching with any optical aid, as the Sun will be rising shortly after 07:00.

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