December 20, 2020: Venus is low in the southeastern sky before sunrise in front of the stars of Scorpius. It is in front of the constellation for two more mornings.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:15 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:23 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Venus is slowly slipping into the sun’s bright glare. The planet is working its way across a short section of the ecliptic (the solar system’s plane) that cuts through Scorpius. In two mornings, the planet appears in front of Ophiuchus.
This morning Venus rises nine minutes shy of two hours before sunrise. By 45 minutes before sunrise, the brilliant planet is just 10° in altitude above the southeast horizon. Use a binocular to spot it 2.5° to the lower left of Graffias (β Sco).
Detailed Note: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Venus – less than 10° in altitude in the southeast – is 2.5° to the lower left of β Sco.
Read more about the planets during December.
November 3, 2021: Before sunrise speedy planet Mercury, the crescent moon, and the star Spica are grouped together. The trio does not appear this close together again until 2033.
October 31, 2021: There is no Halloween Full moon this year, and the phase is not close. The crescent moon is in the morning sky. Mercury is low in the east-southeast before sunrise. The planet pack – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – gleam in the evening sky.
October 29, 2021: Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the sun. It is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn. The crescent moon and Mercury are in the eastern sky before sunrise.
October 29 – November 1, 2021: The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!
October 26, 27, and 28, 2021: During the early morning hours, the bright gibbous moon appears in front of Gemini’s stars.