Astronomy

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.

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