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.
Read more about the planets during November.
January 6, 2022: Planet Mercury nears its evening greatest elongation. It appears in the evening sky, with a crescent moon, Jupiter, and Saturn. Venus sets soon after sundown. Mars is in the southeast before sunup.
January 5, 2022: Jupiter and the crescent are 5.5° in the evening sky. Look for Mercury and Saturn with the planet-moon duo. Earlier, Venus is low in the west-southwest. Before sunrise, Mars is near Antares.
January 4, 2022: Earth is at perihelion today – it’s closest point to the sun. Mars is a morning planet, while the evening planet pack – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – and the crescent moon are in the southwest after sundown.
January 3, 2022: The moon passes Venus for the final time of this evening appearance of Venus. As night falls, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter are visible in the southwest. Mars is in the southeast before sunrise.
December 30, 2021: As the year ends and the new one opens, the night sky’s brightest star – Sirius – is in the southern sky at the midnight hour.