November 26, 2020: Goodbye Mercury as the planet speeds back into the sun’s glare. It returns to the evening sky during the new year. Morning Star Venus continues to step eastward in Virgo.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:54 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:22 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
If you’re still tracking Mercury, it is very low in the east-southeast at about 30 minutes before sunrise. This is a challenge to see. An unobstructed, cloud-free horizon is required to see the planet with a binocular. So, we say “Goodbye” to Mercury until it returns to the evening sky during late January and early February of the new year.
This leaves Venus as the lone bright morning planet.
During recent mornings, we’ve watched Venus step through Virgo. This morning that eastern dance continues. The planet is near the Virgo – Libra border, almost between the stars Kappa Virginis (κ Vir on the chart) and Lambda Virginis (λ Vir). Ten days ago, it passed Spica in a wide conjunction. Notice its location compared to the star this morning. During the next few mornings notice its position compared to the κ Vir and λ Vir.
In two mornings, Venus moves into Libra.
Detailed note: One hour before sunrise, brilliant Venus is over 14° in altitude in the east-south-east. With a binocular note that it is nearly between κ Vir and λ Vir, 1.8° to the lower right of κ Vir and 1.6° to the upper left of λ Vir. Thirty minutes before sunrise, Mercury is only 3° in altitude in the east-southeast, 15.6° to the lower left of Venus. Use a binocular to locate Mercury.
Read more about the planets during November.
April 19, 2021: The first evening appearance of Venus for this apparition occurs this evening. Look for it low in the west-northwest about 20 minutes after sunset.
April 19, 2021: Venus begins to appear in the west after sunset. The moon lines up with Pollux and Castor, while Mars is above Bull’s horns in the western evening sky.
April 19, 2021: The bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Capricornus is the starry background for this giant planet duo.
April 18, 2021: The crescent moon is high in the west after sunset among the stars of Gemini, below Pollux and Castor. Mars is above the Bull’s horns. Daylight is 13 hours, 30 minutes long.
April 18, 2021: The bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Capricornus is the starry background for this giant planet duo. Daylight is 13 hours, 30 minutes long.