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.
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.
October 29, 2021: Today is the date for equal daylight and equal darkness for about 42° north latitude. This is not to be confused with the autumnal equinox.