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.
April 21, 2021: Evening Star is making its first appearance in the west-northwest shortly after sunset. The gibbous moon is near Leo, while Mars is near the foot of Castor.
April 21, 2021: Jupiter and Saturn are the bright morning planets in the southeast before sunrise. The stars are in front of the backdrop of Capricornus. The constellation looks like an oversized boomerang or stealth fighter.
April 20, 2021: Venus is very low in the west-northwest after sunset. The gibbous moon is in Cancer, between Regulus and Pollux. Mars, above the horns of Taurus, approaches the star cluster Messier 35.
April 20, 2021: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise, gently moving eastward compared to the starry backdrop of Capricornus.
April 19, 2021: The first evening appearance of Venus for this apparition occurs this evening. Look for it low in the west-northwest about 20 minutes after sunset.