December 24, 2020: Venus continues to appear lower in the southeastern sky before sunrise. It appears to the upper left of Antares, now making its first morning appearance. Find a clear horizon toward the southeast to see the planet and the star.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:16 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:25 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Find Venus low in the southeast about 45 minutes before sunrise. It is to the upper left of Antares, the Rival of Mars, that is making its first appearance in the morning sky before sunrise (heliacal rising).
The brilliant Morning Star is the lone bright planet in the morning sky. It rises 2-3 minutes later each morning so it appears lower in the sky during morning twilight.
Find an unobstructed horizon toward the southeast to locate the planet and the star. The star may be twinkling wildly, the effects of the atmosphere when a bright star is low in the sky.
Detailed Note: December 24: Venus is about 8° in altitude in the southeast at 45 minutes before sunrise. The brilliant planet is 5.6° to the upper left of Antares and 1.2° to the lower left of ω Oph. The moon is farthest from Earth (apogee) at 10:31 a.m. CST, 251,640 miles away.
Read more about the planets during December.
During February 2021, Mars parades eastward in the dim starfield of Aries and moves into Taurus, nearing a March conjunction with the Pleiades star cluster.
On February 11, 2021: Venus passes Jupiter during the daytime in a spectacular proximate conjunction.
January 29, 2021: The moon blocks the star Eta Leonis from parts of the Western Hemisphere during the early evening.