January 12, 2021: Brilliant Morning Star Venus is slowly slipping into the sun’s glare. It rises about 2 minutes later each morning this month.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:17 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:42 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Even two months before it passes on the far side of the sun (superior conjunction), Venus is becoming more difficult to see in the morning sky. It slips into bright morning twilight.
Venus rises 21 minutes later than it did at the beginning of the new year. This morning it rises 67 minutes before sunrise. By month’s end it rises only 36 minutes before sun rises.
The result is that Venus appears low in a brighter sky. This morning, it is only about 5° in altitude at 30 minutes before the sun appears.
Because it is brilliant, the planet is visible to the unaided eye, but it is likely behind a neighboring building, tree, or other obstruction. At this altitude above the horizon, it could be covered by clouds that extend into the distance.
Read about Venus during January.
Detailed Note: Thirty minutes before sunrise, locate Venus about 5° up in the southeast.
Read more about the planets during January.
- 2023, December 19: A Scorpion Fumble, Moon MidwayDecember 19, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus appears below the Scorpion’s claws. After sundown, the moon is nearly midway from Saturn to Jupiter.
- 2023, December 18: Pinched VenusDecember 18, 2023: Look for Venus between the Scorpion’s claws in the southeast before sunrise. The thick crescent moon is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn.
- 2023, December 17: Celestial PairsDecember 17, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus passes Zubenelgenubi, a planet-star conjunction. After sundown, Saturn and crescent moon are paired, a planet-moon conjunction.
- 2023, December 16: Venus Clawed, Evening Crescent Nears SaturnDecember 16, 2023: Before daybreak, Venus is above the Scorpion’s southern claw. After nightfall, the crescent moon nears Saturn.
- 2023, December 15: Brilliant Morning Star, Evening Lunar CrescentDecember 15, 2023: Before sunrise, brilliant Venus approaches Zubenelgenubi, the Scorpion’s southern claw. The crescent moon returns to the western evening sky.