Brilliant Morning Star Venus was visible for the second half of last year in the morning sky. As 2021 opens, the planet is slowly slipping into the sun’s bright twilight.
On January 1, Venus rises nearly 90 minutes before sunrise. By 45 minutes before sunrise, the planet is about 6° in altitude in the southeast. It is over 12° to the lower left of the star Antares. It is necessary to have a clear view of the natural horizon to see the planet.
The planet becomes more challenging to see each morning. It is brilliant and it can be found during bright lighting conditions. Knowing where to look and using a binocular to help finding the planet’s initial location is a way to track the planet in the sky.
Each morning the planet rises about two minutes later. By month’s end, Venus rises 36 minutes before sunlight. It is very low in the southeast as sunrise approaches.
One highlight of the month is the crescent moon’s grouping with Venus. On January 11, 30minutes before sunrise, locate a clear horizon to observe the final visible grouping of the moon and Venus during this Venusian apparition. The razor thin crescent moon is 3.9° to the right of the brilliant planet.
Continue to track the planet in the morning. It passes its superior conjunction – on the far side of the sun – on March 26, 2021. The planet then slowly moves into the evening sky.
April 19, 2021: The first evening appearance of Venus for this apparition occurs this evening. Look for it low in the west-northwest about 20 minutes after sunset.
April 19, 2021: Venus begins to appear in the west after sunset. The moon lines up with Pollux and Castor, while Mars is above Bull’s horns in the western evening sky.
April 19, 2021: The bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Capricornus is the starry background for this giant planet duo.
April 18, 2021: The crescent moon is high in the west after sunset among the stars of Gemini, below Pollux and Castor. Mars is above the Bull’s horns. Daylight is 13 hours, 30 minutes long.
April 18, 2021: The bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Capricornus is the starry background for this giant planet duo. Daylight is 13 hours, 30 minutes long.