November 21, 2020: Bright Morning Star Venus shines in the east-southeast this morning above the speedy planet Mercury. Use a binocular to spot Mercury near the star Zubenelgenubi.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:48 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:25 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Venus rises in the eastern sky about 4:15 a.m. CST, over an hour after Mars sets in the west. As sunrise approaches, find it low in the east-southeast. It is moving eastward in front of the stars of Pisces. Mercury – near the horizon – to the lower left of Venus, is 1.8° to the upper left of Zubenelgenubi. Use a binocular to see the star.
Mercury is completing its best morning appearance of the year as it heads toward its superior conjunction next month.
Detailed note: One hour before sunrise Venus – over 15° up in the east-southeast – is 2.9° to the lower left of 82 Vir and 4.9° to the upper right of Kappa Virginis (κ Vir, m = 4.2). Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Mercury – over 14° to the lower left of Venus – is 1.8° to the upper left of Zubenelgenubi.
Read more about the planets during November.
February 18, 2021: The moon, waxing toward its First Quarter moon phase, is high in the southwest after sunset. Planet Mars is 3.8° to the upper right of the moon. Mars is parading eastward compared to the starry background in eastern Aries as it heads toward the Taurus border.
February 6, 2021: Before sunrise, look east-southeast for the waning crescent moon. It is 4.5° to the upper left of Antares – the rival of Mars.
During February 2021, Mars parades eastward in the dim starfield of Aries and moves into Taurus, nearing a March conjunction with the Pleiades star cluster.