Just as the clock strikes midnight, our planetary cousin Mars passes behind the Sun from our vantage point, though it has been too close to the Sun to view for months. Mars remains in the Sun’s glare through the winter, and only slowly emerges from the twilight next spring. It won’t be until a year from now that Mars appears as a prominent object.

The northeastern skies in mid-November feature two contrastingly bright stars. After 7:00 in the evenings, the star Capella shines higher and a pale yellow color, starting about one quarter of the way up. To the lower right, and less bright is Aldebaran, a red giant star, considered to be the “eye” of Taurus, the Bull, not to be mistaken for the much brighter Mars, shining lower between them.

The southern skies don’t have much for stars to boast about, with a number of faint constellations. On the other hand, the First Quarter Moon puts on a temporary show with the iconic Saturn, famous for its broad, icy band of rings, found to the Moon’s right. The latest research suggests these rings are temporary, and may disappear in a few hundred million years.