January 11, 2021: During bright twilight, the razor-thin crescent moon joins Venus in the southeast.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:17 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:41 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Find a clear horizon toward the southeast. About 30 minutes before sunrise, the razor-thin crescent moon, that is 3% illuminated, is 3.9° to the right of brilliant Venus. Because of the brightness of the sky, use a binocular to initially locate the lunar crescent and Venus.
This is the final visible grouping of Venus and the moon during this morning appearance of the brilliant planet.
Venus reaches its superior conjunction with the sun during late March. It then appears later during the spring in the evening sky.
At superior conjunction, either Mercury or Venus is “behind” the sun. Not literally, but it is spaced so that the sun is between that planet and Earth. Usually difficult to see and not a good target for the sun’s intensity can damage a mis-aimed telescope.
Detailed Note: Thirty minutes before sunrise, locate a clear horizon to observe the final visible grouping of the moon and Venus during this Venusian apparition. The moon (27.8d, 3%) is 3.9° to the right of the brilliant planet.
Read more about the planets during January.
Look for the bright rosy star Betelgeuse during February evenings. It makes up the shoulder of Orion the Hunter.
February 19-21: The bright moon moves through the constellation Taurus. Use a binocular to see the starry background with the moon.
February 18, 2021: The moon, waxing toward its First Quarter moon phase, is high in the southwest after sunset. Planet Mars is 3.8° to the upper right of the moon. Mars is parading eastward compared to the starry background in eastern Aries as it heads toward the Taurus border.