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.
April 25, 2021: Mercury passes Evening Star Venus this evening after sunset. Look low in the western sky about 20 minutes after sunset. Mars is marching eastward in Gemini, near the star cluster Messier 35. The bright moon is near Spica.
April 25, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is in front of the stars of Aquarius, while Saturn’s starry background is Capricornus.
April 24, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus and bright Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are low in the west-northwest during evening twilight. The bright moon is in the southeast in Virgo. Mars moves into Gemini as it approaches the star cluster Messier 35.
April 24, 2021: The bright gibbous moon is near a star in Virgo during the early morning. From parts of the Western Hemisphere, the moon covers the star. Before sunrise, bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.
April 23, 2021: Evening Star Venus and Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are found very low in the west-northwest after sunset. The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the early evening. Mars is moving toward the star cluster Messier 35.