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.
December 11, 2020: The Great Conjunction countdown: 10 days! Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southwest as night falls. Jupiter continues to close the gap to the Ringed Wonder. Farther eastward, Mars marches eastward in Pisces.
December 11, 2020: As sunrise approaches, the crescent moon is to the upper right of the brilliant planet Venus.
December 10, 2020: The Great Conjunction countdown: 11 days. Jupiter and Saturn are in the southwest as night falls. Bright Mars is in the southeast.