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.
October 8, 2021: The crescent moon approaches Venus in the western sky this evening, leading up to tomorrow’s close grouping of Venus, the crescent moon, and the three stars of the Scorpion’s head.
October 7, 2021: The lunar crescent returns to the evening sky for a short visit in the western sky after sunset. The bright planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible during the early evening.
Mars is at its solar conjunction on October 7, 2021. It begins a slow return into the morning sky. By year’s end it appears low in the southeastern sky with the moon.
October 6, 2021: The moon is at its New moon phase today. This evening look for the three bright planets after sunset.
October 5, 2021: Before sunrise, a very thin moon is visible in the eastern sky. The evening planet pack – Evening Star Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible at the same time after sundown.