January 14, 2021: Venus is slowly disappearing from the morning sky. It is low in the southeast during bright morning twilight.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:16 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:44 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Brilliant Venus rises later each morning. It is losing about 2 minutes of rising time each morning compared to the sun. The result is that it appears lower in the sky. Venus is less than 5° in altitude in the southeast at 30 minutes before sunrise.
This morning Venus rises at Nautical Twilight, a little over an hour before sunrise. This occurs when the sun is 12° below the horizon. The sky is fairly dark, but there is some illumination from the sun in the eastern sky. At this time, “only general outlines of ground objects are distinguishable; for navigation purposes, the horizon is barely visible,” according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.
Venus is becoming more difficult to see. It may be visible at this time interval (30 minutes) before sunrise until January 20 without optical aid. Afterwards, a binocular may be necessary.
Venus passes Saturn and Jupiter next month during the daytime. The conjunctions are easily observable with a small telescope.
Venus does not pass fully into the sun’s brilliant light until March 26. Afterwards, it appears in the evening sky later in the year.
Read about Venus during January.
Detailed Note: Venus rises before Nautical Twilight, 64 minutes before sunrise. It is less than 5° in altitude in the southeast at 30 minutes before sunrise. Depending on the weather and the view from your location, Venus may be visible low in the southeast until January 20 (or later) without optical assistance at about 30 minutes before sunrise. What is the last date that you see the planet without a binocular or telescope before sunrise? Venus does not reach its superior conjunction until March 26.
Read more about the planets during January.
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.