December 23, 2020: Brilliant Morning Star Venus shines from the southeast before sunrise. It passes 5.5° to the upper left of Antares. The star is at its heliacal rising (first morning appearance).
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.
Venus slowly slips into bright sunlight. It is rising 2-3 minutes later each morning. This makes it appear lower in the sky each morning. About 45 minutes before sunrise the brilliant Morning Star is only about 9° in altitude.
Antares is making its first morning appearance (heliacal rising). Locate an unobstructed horizon to the southeast to see the planet 5.5° to the upper left of the star.
Detailed Note: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, brilliant Venus is low in the southeast, only about 9° in altitude. The planet is 5.5° to the upper left of Antares. A binocular and a very clear horizon may be needed to see the star. With the binocular look at the starry region of Ophiuchus and Scorpius to the upper right of Venus. In that starfield, Venus is 2.0° to the lower left of ψ Oph and 0.5° to the upper left of Omega Ophiuchi (ω Oph, m = 4.4).
Read more about the planets during December.
January 3, 2022: The moon passes Venus for the final time of this evening appearance of Venus. As night falls, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter are visible in the southwest. Mars is in the southeast before sunrise.
December 30, 2021: As the year ends and the new one opens, the night sky’s brightest star – Sirius – is in the southern sky at the midnight hour.
December 31, 2021: This morning before sunup, the thin waning crescent moon appears near Mars and the star Antares. Four planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are on parade in the southwest after sundown.
December 30, 2021: The morning crescent moon seems to be captured in the Scorpion’s pincers to the upper right of Mars. Four Evening Planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are in the southwest after sundown.
December 28, 2021: The Great Andromeda Galaxy is nearly overhead at the end of the evening twilight.