November 20, 2020: Brilliant Venus continues to shine in the east-southeast before sunrise. Catch Mercury before it disappears back into bright twilight and the sun’s glare. It is approaching Zubenelgenubi.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:47 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:26 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
This morning brilliant Venus continues to sparkle in the southeastern sky before sunrise. It continues to move eastward in Virgo. Spot it each morning compared to the star Spica. This morning the star is nearly 6° to the upper right of the planet.
Mercury is nearing the end of its best morning appearance of the year. Look about 45 minutes before sunrise when it is about 6° up in the east-southeast. It is beginning to approach Zubenelgenubi – the Northern Claw. The star is dim and below the speedy planet. You’ll need a very clear horizon to see the planet. Use a binocular to spot the star.
Detailed note: One hour before sunrise, Venus is over 16° in altitude above the east-southeast horizon, 5.8° below Spica and 1.7° to the lower left of 82 Vir. Through a telescope the planet is 12.1” across and 86% illuminated, a morning gibbous phase. Mercury is nearly 14° to the lower left of Venus. Forty-five minutes before sunrise, the speedy planet is over 6° up in the east-southeast. Use a binocular to spot Zubenelgenubi (α Lib, m = 2.8), 3.1° below Mercury.
Read more about the planets during November.
August 1 – 6, 2021: The morning moon wanes toward its New moon phase in the eastern sky. It passes the bright stars that are prominent in the evening sky during the winter season in the northern hemisphere. The stars have been making their first appearances in the morning sky during summer. At this hour, Procyon and bright Sirius are the last stellar duo to appear.
August 6, 2021: In the northern hemisphere, summer’s midpoint occurs today at 6:27 p.m. CDT.
July 31, 2021: The slightly gibbous moon, nearing its Last Quarter phase, is in the southeast as morning twilight begins. It is near the planet Uranus, easily within reach of a binocular. Mira, a variable star, reaches its brightest next month.
July 29, 2021: In a challenging-to-see conjunction, Mars passes 0.6° to the upper right of the star Regulus.
July 27, 2021: Evening Star Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are in the evening sky. Mars is nearing its conjunction with Regulus in two evenings.