2020, November 17: Morning Star Venus and Mercury

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2020, November 17: Looking east-southeast at 45 minutes before sunrise, Mercury is about 7° in altitude and over 13° to the lower left of Venus.

Brilliant Morning Star Venus shines as “the bright star in the eastern sky before sunrise.” The planet is near the star Spica.  Mercury joins Venus, but it is lower in the sky.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:43 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:28 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Brilliant Venus and Mercury continue to appear in the east-southeast before sunrise.  Mercury is heading back into the sun’s glare as it widens its gap to Venus.  This morning the morning planets are over 13° apart.

Yesterday, Venus passed Spica, in a widely spaced conjunction, but the two are slightly farther apart this morning, 3.9°.  Continue to watch Venus step eastward compared to the stars.

Find a clear horizon to see Mercury.

Detailed note: One hour before sunrise, Venus is less than 17° in altitude above the east-southeast horizon. The brilliant planet is 3.9° to the upper left of Spica.  The Venus – Mercury gap continues to widen.  This morning they are 13.1° apart.  Fifteen minutes later, Mercury is over 7° up in the east-southeast.

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.

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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