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 22. 2021: Speedy Mercury is low in the east before sunrise. It is putting on its best morning performance of the year. Arcturus, in the east-northeast, is about the same altitude as Mercury.
October 21-November 1, 2021: Brilliant Venus steps through Ophiuchus to the upper left of the star Antares in the southwest after sunset . Afterward, the planet steps farther eastward.
October 21, 2021: The bright moon is low in the west about an hour before sunrise. Mercury is in the east at about the same altitude as Arcturus. Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter shine from the evening sky.
December 18, 2021: This is the anticipated launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most sophisticated space telescope view the universe.
October 20, 2021: Mercury is brightening in the morning sky. Brilliant Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky. The bright moon starts the evening low in the eastern sky.