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.
August 1 – 6, 2021: The morning moon wanes toward its New moon phase in the eastern sky. It passes the bright stars that are prominent in the evening sky during the winter season in the northern hemisphere. The stars have been making their first appearances in the morning sky during summer. At this hour, Procyon and bright Sirius are the last stellar duo to appear.
August 6, 2021: In the northern hemisphere, summer’s midpoint occurs today at 6:27 p.m. CDT.
July 31, 2021: The slightly gibbous moon, nearing its Last Quarter phase, is in the southeast as morning twilight begins. It is near the planet Uranus, easily within reach of a binocular. Mira, a variable star, reaches its brightest next month.
July 29, 2021: In a challenging-to-see conjunction, Mars passes 0.6° to the upper right of the star Regulus.
July 27, 2021: Evening Star Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are in the evening sky. Mars is nearing its conjunction with Regulus in two evenings.