2020, November 16: Morning Star Venus and Mercury

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2020, November 16: Brilliant Venus shines in the east-southeast during morning twilight. It is 3.8° to the upper left of Spica and 13.0° to the upper right of Mercury.

Brilliant Morning Star Venus shines from the east-southeast before sunrise.  This morning it is to the upper left of the star Spica, in a widely-spaced conjunction.  As the sky brightens, Mercury is visible to the lower left of Venus, near the horizon.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:41 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:30 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

2020, November 16: Brilliant Venus shines in the east-southeast during morning twilight. It is 3.8° to the upper left of Spica and 13.0° to the upper right of Mercury.

Look eastward this morning before sunrise.  An hour before sunrise, Venus is about a fourth of the way up in the sky.  It’s a can’t miss as “that bright star” in the eastern sky. 

This morning Venus passes 3.8° to the upper left of the star Spica.  During the next few mornings watch the planet move away from the star.

Mercury is putting on its best morning display of the year, although it is low in the eastern sky to the lower left of Venus.  It is bright, but likely hiding behind a neighbor’s house or other terrestrial obstruction.  If you look below Venus through a binocular, you’ll likely see the bright planet.  If you look carefully, you should see it without optical help.

This speedy and elusive planet is difficult to see even under the best circumstances as it is close to the sun.  By month’s end, it’ll zip back into the sun’s glare and head for an evening appearance early next year.

Detailed note: Venus is at its northern most celestial latitude for this apparition, 1.78°. One hour before sunrise, Venus is nearly 17° in altitude in the east-southeastern sky. It is 3.8° to the upper left of Spica on this morning of its widely-spaced conjunction.  Mercury is 13.0° to the lower left of Venus.  Fifteen minutes later the speedy planet is nearly 8° in altitude

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

Read more about the planets during November.

See the moon and planets this evening.

2021, May 28: Close Venus – Mercury Conjunction

May 28, 2021:  This evening Mercury passes brilliant Venus for the second of three conjunctions during this evening apparition of the second planet from the sun.  Use a binocular about 45 minutes after sunset to see the speedy planet 0.4° to the lower left of Venus.  This is the closest visible conjunction until 2033.

2021, May 24: Planets in a Plane

May 24, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.  In the evening sky, brilliant Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars line up along the solar system’s plane.  The bright moon is in the southeast near Zubenelgenubi, “the southern claw.”

2021, May 23: Planet Parade Marches On

May 23, 2021:  Five bright planets parade across the sky.  Jupiter and Saturn are visible before sunrise in the southeastern sky.  The star Fomalhaut is becoming visible below bright Jupiter and near the horizon.   After sundown, Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in the western sky.  The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the nighttime hours.

2021, May 22: Parading Five Planets

May 22, 2021: Five planets parade across the sky.  Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Evening Star Venus, Mercury and Mars are in the western sky after sunset.  A bright moon is in the southeastern sky.

2021, May 21: Evening Planet Ballet

May 21, 2021: Three bright planets are dancing in the western sky after sundown.  Evening Star Venus is entering the sky for a months-long residency after its solar conjunction two months ago.  Mercury is heading for a conjunction with Venus after its best evening appearance of the year.  Mars continues its eastward march in Gemini, but time is running out on its appearance as it approaches brighter evening twilight and a conjunction with Venus.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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