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2020, December: Morning Star Venus in East

Crescent Moon in east before sunrise, November 13, 2020

2020, November 13: The crescent moon that is 4% illuminated is in the eastern sky before sunrise.

Venus: In the morning sky during December, Venus steps through Libra and Scorpius, and into Ophiuchus.

Brilliant Morning Star Venus continues to shine in the eastern sky before sunrise during December.  It is beginning to slip into the sun’s glare. Watch it step eastward through the stars. The December 18 conjunction with Beta Scorpii is especially impressive.

At the beginning of the month, it rises about 2 hours, 20 minutes before sunrise.  It loses 2 to 3 minutes of rising time each morning.  By the eve of the new year, the planet rises 90 minutes before sunrise, after the beginning of morning twilight. 

The planet starts the month in Libra.  It moves eastward into Scorpius and then into Ophiuchus.

On December 18, Venus has a very close conjunction with the star Beta Scorpii (β Sco), formally known as Graffias (Crab).  The separation is about 50% larger than the Jupiter – Saturn gap three evenings after this conjunction.  This is a test whether you might need a binocular to clearly see Jupiter and Saturn as separate worlds in the sky,

For the notes that follow, look toward the southeastern sky about 45 minutes before sunrise.

December 1 – 5: Brilliant Venus passes Zubenelgenubi on December 3. This chart shows the motion of Venus compared to the star for a few days around the conjunction date.

2020, December 1: Venus is 3.3° to the upper right of Zubenelgenubi.
2020, December 2: One hour before sunrise, Venus is 2.2° to the upper right of Zubenelgenubi .

2020, December 3: One hour before sunrise, Venus – low in the east-southeast – is 1.3° to the upper left of Zubenelgenubi.

2020, December 4: Brilliant Venus is 1.4° to the left of Zubenelgenubi.
2020, December 9, 2020: Venus low in the southeast.

2020, December 9: The crescent moon is over halfway up in the sky in the south-southeast. It is 3.3° to the upper right of Gamma Virginis (γ Vir, m = 3.4). It is above Spica and Venus.

2020, December 10, Venus, Moon, and Spica.
2020, December 11: One hour before sunrise, the crescent moon is to the upper right of brilliant Morning Star Venus.

2020, December 12: One hour before sunrise, the crescent moon is 4.2° to the upper right of Venus.

2020, December 16 – 20: Venus passes Beta Scorpii in a close conjunction. This chart shows the motion of Venus relative to the starfield during five days.

2020, December 23: Venus passes Antares.

2021, December 29: Moon Nears Scorpion, Venus Departs

December 29, 2021: The morning crescent moon approaches Scorpius and Mars.  In the evening sky, four evening planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are lined up in the southwest.  Venus is rapidly leaving the evening sky.

2021, December 28:  Venus Slips, Mercury Hops

December 28, 2021:  Brilliant Venus is quickly slipping from the evening sky.  Mercury appears beneath Venus after sunset.  This duo is joined by Jupiter and Saturn.  In the morning, Mars is near Antares and the moon near Spica.

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