The new year opens with brilliant Morning Star Venus, bright Jupiter, and the crescent moon in the southeast before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower in the sky each morning and its phase diminish as it heads towards its New Moon phase on January 5. Here’s what to look for:
- January 1: At about an hour before sunrise, the waning crescent moon (25.3 days old — past its new phase, 19% illuminated) is 24° up in the southeast, with Venus (m = −4.6), 4.7° to the lower left of the crescent. The moon is nearly between Zubenelgenubi (Z1 on the chart) and Zubeneschamli (Z2). Venus’ rapid motion is carrying it toward a widely-spaced conjunction with Jupiter later this month. Jupiter (m = −1.8) is about 18° to the lower left of Venus and 5.3° to the upper left of Antares.
- January 2: Venus is 25° up in the southeast, about one hour before sunrise). It is 17.3° to the upper right of Jupiter, and slowly closing that gap. The waning crescent moon (26.2 days old, 11% illuminated) lies in between them. The moon is 11.6° above Antares. If you have a telescope look at Venus. It has a phase, like the moon displays; the Venusian terminator (line that divides day and night) is slightly curved, indicating a very thick morning crescent phase; the half phase is only days away (January 6).
- January 3: Again this morning an hour before sunrise, the waning crescent moon (27.2 days old, 6% illuminated) is 3.5° to the left of Jupiter. Brilliant Venus is 16.5° to the upper right of Jupiter.
The moon repeats it motion past these bright planets at month’s end.
More about Venus and Jupiter