Around the world this evening (November 20, 2013), and for some evenings around now, the three brightest celestial bodies of nighttime – the moon, Venus and Jupiter – light up the evening sky. However, you can’t see all three at the same time. Look for Venus in the west or southwest after sunset. Then before going to bed, look for the moon and Jupiter in the eastern sky.
Venus, the brightest heavenly body after the sun and moon, pops out in the western sky first thing at dusk. This dazzling world will follow the sun beneath the horizon fairly early this evening at mid-northern latitudes. In the Southern Hemisphere, temperate latitudes will see Venus shining until pretty late this evening.
The moon is in a waning gibbous phase now. From most places worldwide, it’ll be rising in the east-northeast as Venus is setting in the west-southwest. In other worlds, look in the opposite direction of where Venus sets to catch tonight’s moonrise.
Jupiter will follow the moon into the evening sky, about an hour or so after moonrise. Tomorrow – on November 21 – the moon will be much closer to Jupiter.
Venus sets early. But once the moon and Jupiter rise into the starry sky, the two will be out for the rest of the night. They soar highest in the sky around 3 to 4 a.m. local time.
Bottom line: The moon, Venus and Jupiter are the brightest objects in the night sky. They’re all up – just not at the same time. Look for Venus in the west or southwest after sunset. Then before going to bed, look for the moon and Jupiter in the eastern sky.