Watching the Skies: 5 bright planets in sight this month

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In October, we had an awesome view of Mars and two full moons. Even though November will only have one full moon and Mars’ brightness is starting to fade, it’s going to be a great month for sky gazers.

All five of the bright planets will be visible this month.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are the “bright planets,” or the planets that we can see without use of a telescope or binoculars.

Mercury will likely be the hardest planet to spot, and binoculars would help. First, look for Venus. Venus is still the brightest of the planets and the third brightest celestial object, only behind the sun and the moon. Venus will be easy to find in the east before and during dawn.

Once you’ve located Venus, look beneath it toward the horizon. Mercury will be low in the east-southeast about an hour before sunrise.

While Venus and Mercury will grace the morning sky, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be visible in the evening. Mars is getting less bright by the day, but it will still be easy to find in the eastern sky. The best viewing of Mars will be in the south a few hours after sunset.

Jupiter will appear to the west during twilight. Saturn will become visible just a little later and it will be just to the left of Jupiter. Jupiter is the brightest of the two planets, so once you’ve identified Jupiter in the west, it will be easy to find Saturn nearby.

On Halloween, we had a Blue Hunter’s Moon. Ed Roblyer captured this picture and sent it our way.