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.
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.