December 29, 2020: Bright Jupiter is to the upper left of Saturn as night falls. Spot them as night falls. The bright moon is low in the east-northeast. Mars continues its eastward march through Pisces.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:18 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:28 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Jupiter and Saturn appear lower in the southwest as night falls. Now a week after their Great Conjunction, Jupiter is 0.9° to the upper left of Saturn. Both continue to be visible to the unaided eye. Jupiter sets less than 2 hours after sunset. The viewing window narrows from about 45 minutes after sunset for less than 30 minutes before Jupiter is near the southwest horizon.
Farther east, the bright moon is low in the east-northeast.
Use a binocular to spot the starfield around Mars. The moon’s brightness blots out the dimmer stars to the unaided eye.
The Red Planet is marching eastward in Pisces. Find it high in the southeast when the sky darkens. The Red Planet is 1.2° to the lower left of dim Pi Piscium (π Psc on the chart) and 2.8° to the upper right of Omicron Piscium (ο Psc).
Read about Mars during December.
Detailed note: In the evening sky, the Jupiter – Saturn gap continues to grow. This evening it is 0.9°. Jupiter is over 8° up in the southwest about one hour after sunset. The planet is 1.1° to the lower left of σ Cap. Farther east, Mars is less than 55° in altitude above the southeast horizon. It continues its eastward march in front of the stars of Pisces. Use a binocular to see it 1.2° to the lower right of dim π Psc and 2.8° to the upper right of ο Psc. At this hour, the moon is low in the east-northeast, about 16° to the upper right of Castor (α Gem, m = 1.6).
Read more about the planets during December.
November 7, 2021: During the early evening Venus and the moon group together in the southwest.
November 6, 2021: The midpoint of Autumn occurs today.
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.