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.
July 6, 2021: In less than a week, brilliant Venus passes Mars in the west-northwestern sky after sunset. This evening the two planets are 3.8° apart. Venus is over 18° to the lower right of the star Regulus.
July 1 – July 7, 2021, the waning crescent appears in the eastern sky. Early in the viewing period, the moon is among the dim stars of Pisces. As the week progresses, the moon wanes and moves farther eastward, appearing near Taurus.
July 5, 2021: Our planet Earth reaches its farthest point in its yearly trek around the sun. Our seasons are not related to Earth’s distance from the sun. Coincidentally, the moon is at its farthest point from Earth today.
July 5, 2021: Venus continues to close in on Mars in the west-northwest after sunset. In a week Venus passes the Red Planet.
July 4, 2021: The Venus – Mars conjunction is eight days away. This evening Venus moves to within 5° of the Red Planet.