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.
October 7, 2021: The lunar crescent returns to the evening sky for a short visit in the western sky after sunset. The bright planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible during the early evening.
Mars is at its solar conjunction on October 7, 2021. It begins a slow return into the morning sky. By year’s end it appears low in the southeastern sky with the moon.
October 6, 2021: The moon is at its New moon phase today. This evening look for the three bright planets after sunset.
October 5, 2021: Before sunrise, a very thin moon is visible in the eastern sky. The evening planet pack – Evening Star Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible at the same time after sundown.
October 29, 2021: Today is the date for equal daylight and equal darkness for about 42° north latitude. This is not to be confused with the autumnal equinox.