This morning’s crescent moon joins Venus in the eastern sky. Four planets arch across the morning sky.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
A thin crescent moon joins brilliant Venus this morning in the eastern sky. The star Aldebaran, in Taurus the Bull, appears nearby. The moon is 3.2° from Venus, and the sparkling planet is the same distance from Aldebaran.
Higher in the southeast, bright Mars shines from the dim stars of Cetus. It continues to march eastward compared to the starry background. This morning it is 2.9° to the upper right of 20 Ceti (20 Cet on the photo).
Earth passes between Mars and the sun on October 13. This is known as opposition.
Jupiter and Saturn are in the southwestern sky in front of the stars of eastern Sagittarius. They are moving westward compared to the stars. This illusion of backwards motion occurs when Earth passes worlds beyond our planet.
Jupiter is a few days past its opposition. Earth passes between the sun and Saturn on July 20. Both planets continue to retrograde until September. When they again resume their eastward motion compared to the stars, Jupiter approaches and passes Saturn in a Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020.
This morning, Jupiter is 3.7° to the lower right of 56 Sagittarii (56 Sgr) and 1.6° to the upper left of 50 Sagittarii (50 Sgr). Saturn is 4.1° to the lower right of Sigma Capricorni (σ Cap).
Here’s more about the planets during July.