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.
October 8, 2021: The crescent moon approaches Venus in the western sky this evening, leading up to tomorrow’s close grouping of Venus, the crescent moon, and the three stars of the Scorpion’s head.
October 7, 2021: The lunar crescent returns to the evening sky for a short visit in the western sky after sunset. The bright planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible during the early evening.
Mars is at its solar conjunction on October 7, 2021. It begins a slow return into the morning sky. By year’s end it appears low in the southeastern sky with the moon.
October 6, 2021: The moon is at its New moon phase today. This evening look for the three bright planets after sunset.
October 5, 2021: Before sunrise, a very thin moon is visible in the eastern sky. The evening planet pack – Evening Star Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible at the same time after sundown.