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.
August 1 – 6, 2021: The morning moon wanes toward its New moon phase in the eastern sky. It passes the bright stars that are prominent in the evening sky during the winter season in the northern hemisphere. The stars have been making their first appearances in the morning sky during summer. At this hour, Procyon and bright Sirius are the last stellar duo to appear.
August 6, 2021: In the northern hemisphere, summer’s midpoint occurs today at 6:27 p.m. CDT.
July 31, 2021: The slightly gibbous moon, nearing its Last Quarter phase, is in the southeast as morning twilight begins. It is near the planet Uranus, easily within reach of a binocular. Mira, a variable star, reaches its brightest next month.
July 29, 2021: In a challenging-to-see conjunction, Mars passes 0.6° to the upper right of the star Regulus.
July 27, 2021: Evening Star Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are in the evening sky. Mars is nearing its conjunction with Regulus in two evenings.