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.
February 19-21: The bright moon moves through the constellation Taurus. Use a binocular to see the starry background with the moon.
February 18, 2021: The moon, waxing toward its First Quarter moon phase, is high in the southwest after sunset. Planet Mars is 3.8° to the upper right of the moon. Mars is parading eastward compared to the starry background in eastern Aries as it heads toward the Taurus border.
February 6, 2021: Before sunrise, look east-southeast for the waning crescent moon. It is 4.5° to the upper left of Antares – the rival of Mars.