December 16, 2020: Just days before the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the evening sky, Morning Star Venus nears the star Graffias for a very close conjunction in two mornings.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:12 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:21 p.m. CST. (Daylight length is 7 hours, 9 minutes.) Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Brilliant Morning Star Venus appears low in the southeast before sunrise this morning. In two mornings, it passes very close to the star Graffias (β Sco on the chart), the Crab.
This morning Venus is 2.4° to the upper right of Graffias. A binocular may initially help you find the star as the sky brightens. Start looking about an hour before sunrise.
In two mornings, Venus passes 0.1° from the star. This is about the Jupiter – Saturn separation at the Great Conjunction on December 21.
Detailed Summary: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Venus is nearly 11° up in the southeast. It is 2.4° to the upper right of β Sco. Use a binocular to see the planet in the starfield of Scorpius.
Read more about the planets during December.
January 20, 2021: Mercury is low in the west-southwest after sunset. The bright moon is to the lower right of Mars, while the Red Planet passes planet Uranus.
January 19, 2021: Mercury is low in the west-southwest after sunset. The moon is approaching Mars before their grouping tomorrow evening. Mars nears the planet Uranus before tomorrow’s conjunction.
January 18, 2021: Without a bright morning planet, bright Arcturus and the constellation Bootes the Herdsman is high in the south. The crescent moon is in the early evening sky. Mars is near the planet Uranus. They are high in the south-southeast as night falls.