December 10, 2020: Before sunrise, the crescent moon appears near Spica. Brilliant Morning Star Venus is in Libra, lower in the sky.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:08 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:20 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Before sunrise, the crescent moon, that is 23% illuminated, appears to the upper left of Spica. Look for them over a third of the way up in the sky above the southeast horizon.
The lunar slice rises about 2 a.m. CST, approximately five hours before local sunrise.
During the next two mornings watch the moon move closer to Venus. Each morning the moon rises later and the crescent is thinner.
Venus is lower in the sky. The planet rises at about 5 a.m., a over 2 hours before sunrise. The planet is in Libra, beneath Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, the “claw stars.”
This morning, the planet is between Gamma Librae (γ Lib on the chart) and Iota Librae (ι Lib). Use a binocular to spot it between the two stars. Venus is about 3° from each star.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Venus is over 10° up in the southeast, between ι Lib and γ Lib. Venus is about 3° from each star. The crescent moon (25.3d, 23%) is higher in the sky, over 36° up. The lunar slice is 6.3° to the upper left of Spica (α Vir, m = 1.0).
Read more about the planets during December.
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.