2020, October 22: Morning Star Venus in Leo, Evening Planets and Moon


October 22 Photos:

2020, October 22: Rusty Mars – shining from the east – is 0.9° below 80 Piscium (80 Psc).

2020, October 22: The nearly first quarter moon, overexposed in the image above, makes a nice triangle with Jupiter and Saturn. The planets are 5.9° apart. The moon is 4.4° to the lower left of Jupiter and 4.2° to the lower right of Saturn.
2020, October 22: One hour before sunrise, brilliant Venus is in the east-southeast. It is near the stars Tau Leonis (τ Leo on the chart.), Nu Leonis (ν Leo), and Beta Virginis (β Vir). Use a binocular to spot the bright planet with the dimmer stars in the background.

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.

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

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.

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).

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

2021, January 21: Morning Stars, Evening Bright Moon

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.

Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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