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.
November 3, 2021: Before sunrise speedy planet Mercury, the crescent moon, and the star Spica are grouped together. The trio does not appear this close together again until 2033.
October 31, 2021: There is no Halloween Full moon this year, and the phase is not close. The crescent moon is in the morning sky. Mercury is low in the east-southeast before sunrise. The planet pack – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – gleam in the evening sky.
October 29, 2021: Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the sun. It is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn. The crescent moon and Mercury are in the eastern sky before sunrise.
October 29 – November 1, 2021: The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!
October 26, 27, and 28, 2021: During the early morning hours, the bright gibbous moon appears in front of Gemini’s stars.