October 22 Photos:
Bright Mars is visible in the western sky before sunrise. Brilliant Venus makes its last appearance in Leo for this morning apparition. In the evening sky, the crescent moon is near Jupiter and Saturn, while bright Mars begins the night in the east-southeast.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:12 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 5:58 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times in different locations.
Morning: Bright Mars dims slightly compared to its brightest nights over two weeks ago. The planet is in the western sky about 90 minutes before sunrise. It appears lower as Venus rises in the east. This is the last morning for Venus in front of the stars of Leo. Use a binocular to spot it among a dimmer starfield. Tomorrow it moves into Virgo.
Detailed morning note: Mars (m = −2.4) is about 7° up in the west, ninety minutes before sunrise. Mars is in the evening sky after sunset this evening. As twilight progresses, look for Venus over 20° up in the east-southeast. In the starfield, it is 2.3° to the lower left of Tau Leonis (τ Leo) to the right of Nu Virginis (ν Vir), and 4.2° above Beta Virginis (β Vir). Tomorrow morning, Venus appears in Virgo.
Evening: Bright Mars is well up in the eastern sky this evening in front of the stars of Pisces. A binocular is helpful to observe the Red Planet against the distant starry background. The thick crescent moon is in the south-southwest near Jupiter and Saturn. It is to the lower left of Jupiter and lower right of Saturn.
Detailed evening note:One hour after sunset, the thick crescent moon (6.2 days after the New moon phase, 44% illuminated), 23° up in the south, makes a nice triangle with Jupiter and Saturn (m = 0.6). The crescent is 4.4° to the lower left of Jupiter and 4.2° to the lower right of Saturn. The Jupiter – Saturn gap is 5.9°. In the starfield, Jupiter is 3.8° to the lower left of Pi Sagittarii (π Sgr) and 0.7° below 50 Sagittarii (50 Sgr). Saturn is 1.8° to the lower left of 56 Sagittarii (56 Sgr). At this hour, Mars is nearly 15° up in the east. About an hour later when it is higher in the sky (26° altitude), use a binocular to spot the Red Planet 0.9° below 80 Piscium (80 Psc).
During the early evening hours of winter, the stars that shine from the southern sky are a sampler of the sky’s brightest stars.
January 21, 2021: Several bright stars are in the morning sky. This morning look for Antares in the east-southeast. Mercury – near its greatest elongation – is in the west-southwest after sunset. Mars and the moon are near each other. Planet Uranus is near Mars.
January 20, 2021: Mercury is low in the west-southwest after sunset. The bright moon is to the lower right of Mars, while the Red Planet passes planet Uranus.