Astronomy

2020, November 25: Brilliant Venus in Eastern Sky

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2020, November 25: One hour before sunrise, Venus is about 15° up in the east-southeast. It is 1.1° to the lower right of Kappa Virginis (κ Vir) and 2.6° above Lambda Virginis (λ Vir).

November 25, 2020: As Mercury slips back into the sun’s bright glare, Venus continues to shine from the east-southeast during morning twilight.  It is stepping eastward among the stars of Virgo, near the Virgo-Libra border.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:53 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:23 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Venus shines brilliantly about 15° up in the east-southeast about one hour before sunrise.  The planet rises at 4:23 a.m. CST in Chicago (2 hours, 30 minutes before sunrise).  It is rising 2-3 minutes later each morning.  Its altitude (height above the horizon) diminishes noticeably during the next month at one hour before sunrise.  Later next month, we will reduce the observing window to 45 minutes before sunrise as Venus is making a slow slide into the sun’s glare.

This morning Venus is approaching the Virgo – Libra border.  Use a binocular to locate two dimmer stars, Kappa Virginis (κ Vir on the chart) and Lambda Virginis (λ Vir).  Venus is 1.1° to the lower right of κ Vir and 2.6° above λ Vir.  The planet is right of an imaginary line that connects the two stars.

Mercury continues to slip back into the sun’s bright glare.  Look for it about 30 minutes before sunrise.  At this hour, the sky is considerably brighter than the observing window for Venus and the neighboring stars.  A binocular may be needed to locate it less than 5° above the east-southeast horizon.  One more morning and we will say “goodbye” to the planet until it reappears in the evening sky during January, leaving Venus the lone bright planet in the morning sky.

Just last summer, 5 planets were in the morning sky before sunrise.

Detailed note: One hour before sunrise, Venus is nearly 15° up in the east-southeast.  It is 1.1° to the lower right of κ Vir and 2.6° above Lambda Virginis (λ Vir, m = 4.5).  The planet is to the right of a line that connects the two stars. Through a telescope, Venus is 11.9” across and 87% illuminated, a morning gibbous.  Thirty minutes later, Mercury – 15.3° to the lower left of Venus – is nearly 4° above the east-southeast horizon. 

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.

2020, December 5: Morning Star Venus, Gibbous Moon, Evening Planets

During morning twilight brilliant Morning Star Venus shines from low in the east-southeast before sunrise as it steps eastward in front of the stars of Virgo. The gibbous moon lies in front of the stars of Cancer, between Leo and Gemini. In the evening sky. Jupiter continues to dance toward Saturn in a prelude to the Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020. In the east-southeast, Mars marches eastward among the dim stars of Pisces.

2020, December 4: Morning Star Venus, Gibbous Moon, Evening Planet Dance

In the morning sky brilliant Morning Star Venus waltzes through Libra near Zubenelgenubi in the east-southeast. Venus is “that bright star” in the eastern sky before sunrise. The bright gibbous moon shines near the Gemini Twins in the western sky. In the evening sky, Mars – in the east-southeast – marches through Pisces. Jupiter closes the gap on Saturn as a prelude dance to the Great Conjunction, 17 evenings away.

2020, December 3: Morning Star Venus in East, Evening Planet Dance

Brilliant Morning Star Venus waltzes eastward among the stars of Libra. It is near the star Zubenelgenubi. Farther west, the bright gibbous moon is near the middle of Gemini beneath the Twins. In the evening, Mars dances eastward among the dim stars of Pisces. Jupiter closes the gap on Saturn as a prelude dance to the Great Conjunction, 18 evenings away.

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