2020, December 18: Venus in Close Conjunction with Beta Scorpii

Venus, December 18. 2020
2020, December 18: Before sunrise, brilliant Morning Star Venus is 0.1° to the upper left of Graffias (β Sco).

December 18, 2020: As an opening act to the Great Conjunction, Venus passes the star Beta Scorpii at a distance slight larger than the closest distance of Jupiter and Saturn.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 7:14 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:22 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Venus moves into Scorpius, crossing it in four days. The section of the famous constellation where the planets move is very small and Venus moves quickly.

Find the planet low in the southeast about 45 minutes before sunrise.  It is very close to Graffias (β Sco), the Crab, only 0.1° away from the star.  The morning conjunction is an opening act for the Jupiter – Saturn conjunction in a few evenings.

The distance between Venus and the star is a little larger than the Jupiter – Saturn conjunction distance on Great Conjunction evening.

Unlike slow-moving Jupiter and Saturn, Venus moves quickly and the gap between the planet and the star is much wider tomorrow morning – 1.3°.

Can you see the star and the planet without optical help from a binocular?  This is a gauge as to whether you can see Jupiter and Saturn as separate “stars” in the sky on Great Conjunction evening.  Your eyes may need a little assistance from a binocular to see the planets separately.

Detailed Note: Venus moves into Scorpius.  It crosses the constellation in four days.  Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Venus – over 10° up in the southeast – is 0.1° to the upper left of β Sco. Use a binocular to observe that the brilliant planet is 1.4° to the upper right of Nu Scorpii (ν Sco, m = 4.0) and 1.0° to the upper left of Omega1 Scorpii (ω1 Sco, m = 3.9). 

See our summary about Venus during December 2020 and the feature article  about Venus as a Morning Star.

Read more about the planets during December.


2021, December 6: The moon with earthshine.

2022, July 31:  Morning Planets, Evening Earthshine

July 31, 2022: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are scattered across the plane of the solar system before sunrise.  The crescent moon, displaying earthshine, is visible in the west after sundown.

Keep reading
2020, September 4: Venus, Sirius, Procyon, and Orion

2022, July 30: Triangular Saturn, Evening Moon

July 30, 2022: Saturn forms an interesting triangle with two stars in Capricornus before daybreak.  Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn parade in the morning sky. The thin crescent moon is in the west-northwest after sunset.

Keep reading
2021, May 13: The crescent moon is 3.2° to the upper left of Mercury.

2022, July 29: Jupiter Retrogrades, Meteor Shower, Planets Parade

July 29, 2022: Jupiter’s retrograde begins today.  The Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower peaks after midnight.  Four morning planets parade across the sky.  Catch a glimpse of Mercury after sunset.

Keep reading

Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: