December 25-31, 2020: Venus slowly slides into bright morning twilight. It is the bright star in the southeast before sunrise. Venus is to the upper left of the star Antares. During the week, the gap widens as Venus appears lower and Antares is higher in the sky.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
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 gap between Venus and Antares opens about 5° during the week.
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. It also continues its eastward trek compared to the starry background.
Antares appears higher each morning because it rises about 4 minutes early each morning.
By New Year’s Eve morning, Venus appears lower in the sky and Antares is higher in the sky.
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.
Read more about the planets during December.
February 19-21: The bright moon moves through the constellation Taurus. Use a binocular to see the starry background with the moon.
February 18, 2021: The moon, waxing toward its First Quarter moon phase, is high in the southwest after sunset. Planet Mars is 3.8° to the upper right of the moon. Mars is parading eastward compared to the starry background in eastern Aries as it heads toward the Taurus border.
February 6, 2021: Before sunrise, look east-southeast for the waning crescent moon. It is 4.5° to the upper left of Antares – the rival of Mars.