December 22, 2020: Venus is the last bright planet visible in the morning sky from last summer’s planet parade. Find it low in the southeast before sunrise among the stars of Ophiuchus.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:16 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:24 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Bright Venus, the lone bright morning planet, is low in the southeast before sunrise. If rises less than two hours before the sun appears. By 45 minutes before sunrise, the planet is 9° in altitude. It is now in front of the stars of Ophiuchus. With a binocular observe that it is 5.0° to the lower left of Graffias (β Sco on the chart) and nearly 6° to the upper right of the star Antares. The star’s name is frequently referred to as the “Rival of Mars.”
You’ll need a clear horizon to see Antares. It is making its first morning (heliacal rising) appearance.
Detailed Note: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Venus – in Ophiuchus – is 9.0° up in the southeast, 5.0° to the lower left of β Sco. The planet is 5.8° to the upper left of Antares that is over 4° above the horizon.
Read more about the planets during December.
January 26, 2021: Visible high in the south after sunset, Mars is in Aries heading for an early March conjunction with the Pleiades star cluster.
Depending on the latitude, the time of equal light and equal darkness occurs during early February.
January 22-24, 2021: The bright gibbous moon moves through Taurus during the evening.