December 8, 2020: The thick crescent moon is in the southern sky before sunrise. It is near the star Denebola, the Lion’s Tail. At that time, Venus is in the southeastern sky among the stars of Libra.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:06 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:20 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
About an hour before sunrise, the thick crescent moon – 44% illuminated – is high in the south. It is near Denebola – the Lion’s Tail. Regulus, the Lion’s Heart, is to the upper right of Denebola and the moon. Regulus appears at the bottom of a backwards question mark shape that is known as the Sickle of Leo, the curved harvesting blade.
Farther east brilliant Venus is low in the sky above the southeast horizon. The planet continues to rise 2-3 minutes later each day. It is in the starfield of Libra, 5.6° to the lower left of Zubenelgenubi. It is near the dimmer stars of Nu Librae (ν Lib on the chart) and Iota Librae (ι Lib).
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, brilliant Venus is nearly 11° in altitude above the southeast horizon. It is 5.6° to the lower left of Zubenelgenubi, 1.9° to the lower left of ν Lib, and 3.2° to the upper left of Iota Librae (ι Lib, m = 4.5). Farther west, the thick crescent moon (23.3d, 44%) is over 55° up in the south, 7.5° to the lower right of Denebola – the Lion’s tail.
See our summary about Venus during December 2020 and the feature article about Venus as a Morning Star.
Here is more about the planets during December 2020.
April 25, 2021: Mercury passes Evening Star Venus this evening after sunset. Look low in the western sky about 20 minutes after sunset. Mars is marching eastward in Gemini, near the star cluster Messier 35. The bright moon is near Spica.
April 25, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is in front of the stars of Aquarius, while Saturn’s starry background is Capricornus.
April 24, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus and bright Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are low in the west-northwest during evening twilight. The bright moon is in the southeast in Virgo. Mars moves into Gemini as it approaches the star cluster Messier 35.
April 24, 2021: The bright gibbous moon is near a star in Virgo during the early morning. From parts of the Western Hemisphere, the moon covers the star. Before sunrise, bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.
April 23, 2021: Evening Star Venus and Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are found very low in the west-northwest after sunset. The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the early evening. Mars is moving toward the star cluster Messier 35.