Jupiter and Saturn in Sagittarius, October 4, 2020.

2020, October 20: Morning Star Venus, Evening Lunar Crescent

The moon in Sagittarius, October 20-22, 2020.
2020: October 20-22: The moon is visible in the southern sky after sunset. On October 20, it is visible between Antares and Kaus Borealis. October 21, the lunar crescent is between Kaus Borealis and Nunki. On October 22, the moon is near Jupiter and Saturn.

Brilliant Morning Star Venus shines from the east-southeast before sunrise.  It is in front of the stars of Leo.  In the evening, the lunar crescent is in the southwest, not far from Jupiter and Saturn that are approaching their Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020. Bright Mars shines from the evening’s eastern sky.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 7:09 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:01 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times in different locations.

Morning: Morning Star Venus continues to gleam in the eastern sky before sunrise.  It is over 11° to the lower right of Denebola – the Tail of Leo.  When you extend your closed fist to arm’s length, then it should cover nearly all the space between the brilliant planet and the star.  Use a binocular to see Venus among the dimmer stars.  Bright Mars is very low in the west.  Early next month, Venus rises as Mars sets, a Venus – Mars opposition.  The planets are on opposite parts of the sky.  What is the last date that you can see them together in the morning sky?  The Red Planet returns to the eastern sky after sunset. See our detailed chart for Venus in October here.

Detailed morning note: One hour before sunrise, Venus is over 22° up in the east-southeast, moving eastward in Leo. Among the stars it is 1.9° below Sigma Leonis (σ Leo) and 2.0° to the upper left of Tau Leonis (τ Leo). Through a telescope, Venus is 13.9” in apparent diameter and 78% illuminated – a morning gibbous. Mars – about 4° up in the west – is 170.8° of ecliptic longitude west of Venus.

See our summary about Venus during October 2020 and the feature article  about Venus as a Morning Star.

Evening: In the south-southwest about an hour after sunset, the crescent moon – 4.2 days after its New moon phase and 23% illuminated – is between Antares – the Heart of the Scorpion – and the Teapot of Sagittarius.  The Teapot, along with the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Sickle of Leo, and many other shapes, is an asterism.  An asterismis group of stars that makes a familiar shape that is often part of a constellation.  Kaus Borealis (λ Sgr) is the star at the top of the Teapot shape.  Use a binocular for a clearer look.  Jupiter and Saturn are farther to the left of the star.  The planets are 6.0° apart.  They are moving eastward compared to the starry background.  During the next few weeks, watch Jupiter dramatically cut the distance to Saturn in a prelude to their Great Conjunction.  Jupiter sets in the southwest at about 11 p.m. and Saturn follows about 30 minutes later. Bright Mars is in the east-southeast among the dim stars of Pisces.  It is retrograding – moving westward compared to the starry background.  This is an illusion from our planet passing Mars.  Opposition was a week ago. The Red Planet is south near midnight and sets in the west before sunrise.

Detailed evening note: One hour after sunset the moon (4.2d, 23%) – nearly 16° up in the south-southwest – is above a line from Antares to Kaus Borealis (λ Sgr, m = 2.8), the star at the top of the lid of the Teapot of Sagittarius.  The gaps: Moon – Kaus Borealis, 10.9°; Moon – Antares, 15.9°.  Look carefully for Antares as it is only 6° in altitude in the southwest.  Farther eastward, Jupiter is about 25° up in the south-southwest.  The Jupiter – Saturn gap is 6.0°.   In the starfield, Jupiter is 3.6° to the lower left of π Sgr and 0.8° to the lower right of 50 Sgr.  Saturn is 1.8° to the lower left of 56 Sgr.  At this hour, Mars is nearly 14° in altitude in the south-southeast, 89.3° of ecliptic longitude east of Jupiter.  An hour later, the Red Planet is nearly 25° up in the east-southeast.  It is left of a line from 80 Psc to 89 Psc.  The planet is 1.2° to the lower left of 80 Psc and 1.8° above 89 Psc. Through a telescope, Mars is 21.8” across.

For more about the Great Conjunction, read our feature article. This is the closest Jupiter – Saturn conjunction since 1623.

Read more about the planets during October.

Recent Articles

Venus and the moon, June 29, 2020.

2020, October 25: Morning Star Venus, Evening Moon, Planets

The brilliant Morning Star Venus continues to step through Virgo. It is that “bright star in the eastern sky” before sunrise. This morning Venus is near Beta Virginis. In the evening sky, the gibbous moon is between Mars and Jupiter, and near the star Fomalhaut. Mars is in the east-southeast. Jupiter and Saturn are in the east-southeast.

Orion Rising, September 4, 2020

2020, October 24: Morning Star Venus, Evening Planets Mars, Jupiter, Saturn

Bright Morning Star Venus continues to sparkle in the eastern sky before sunrise. It shines from in front of the stars of Virgo. Evening planet Mars appears in the eastern sky while Jupiter and Saturn are in the south-southwest. The bright gibbous moon shines from the stars of Capricornus.


2020: Daylight Saving Time Commentary

In this commentary is a different idea about year-round daylight time, based on astronomical concepts for the mid-northern latitudes. Year-round or not, a different approach may yield better results.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.