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.
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.