December 15, 2020: Near the Libra – Scorpius border, Venus is heading for Graffias, in Scorpius, in three mornings. See the planet low in the southeast before sunrise.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:12 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:21 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Venus is slowly slipping back into morning twilight. It loses about 2-3 minutes of rising time each morning, so that it appears lower in the sky. This morning it rises 2 hours before sunrise. An hour later it is low in the southeast.
With a binocular spot the planet to the lower right of the dim star Theta Librae (θ Lib on the chart).
Venus is approaching Graffias (β Sco), the Crab, for a close conjunction on the morning of December 18. The separation is about the same as the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn three evenings later.
Venus moves quicker than Jupiter so this approach to the star occurs during the next few mornings. The prelude to the Jupiter – Saturn conjunction seems painfully slow in comparison to Venus rapid eastward movement through the stars.
Detailed Note: Venus rises two hours before sunrise. One hour later, it is nearly 9° up in the southeast. With a binocular observe that it is 2.2° to the lower right of Theta Librae (θ Lib, m = 4.1). At this time the brilliant planet is 3.7° to the upper right of Beta Scorpii. (β Sco, m = 2.6). Watch Venus close the gap during the next two mornings: Dec 16, 2.4°; Dec 17, 1.2°. In a telescope, Venus is 91% illuminated – a morning gibbous – and 11.1” across.
Read more about the planets during December.
August 14, 2021: This evening the waxing moon is near Zubenelgenubi, the southern claw, that is a stellar double. Use a binocular to see both stars that are in a gravitation dance.
August 13, 2021: This evening the crescent moon appears between Evening Star Venus and Spica as the lunar slice dances eastward. Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky.
August 12, 2021: This evening the crescent moon appears between Venus and Spica as the lunar slice dances eastward.
August 11, 2021: The waxing crescent moon is to the upper left of Evening Star Venus this evening in the western sky.
August 10, 2021: The crescent moon is near Venus in the western sky after sunset.