2021, September – October: Venus and the Scorpion

2021, September 18 – October: Venus moves through the classic Scorpion (Libra, Scorpius, and Ophiuchus).

Venus moves through the classic Scorpion (Libra, Scorpius, and Ophiuchus) during the next 46 days.  The planet is south of the ecliptic, appearing in regions of the constellations that we might not expect to see it. Venus closes in on Earth. The observing interval occurs at nearly mid-twilight so that dimmer stars are easier to see than earlier in the apparition.  Venus sets later each evening and brightens in the sky. On October 9, the moon is near Venus and Delta Scorpii. A week later, Venus passes Antares. Look for an evening half phase through a telescope near the end of October and the evening greatest elongation.

Look for the planet with the stars in the southwest about 45 minutes after sunset.  The chart above shows the planet’s position each evening.

To follow the planet’s eastward trek through the constellations, see this semi-technical summary.

On September 18, Venus moves into Libra.  It sets at the end of evening twilight and continues to set after twilight ends until late December.

2021, September 23: Venus passes 2.0° to the lower left of Zubenelgenubi.

Venus passes 2.0° below Zubenelgenubi, the “southern claw ” (September 23).

On October 7, Venus moves into the official boundary of Scorpius.

2021, October 9: The crescent moon, joins Venus. The lunar slice is to the upper left of the planet, while Venus is lower left of Delta Scorpii (δ Sco ).

Two nights later (October 9), the crescent moon, 17% illuminated, joins Venus.  The lunar slice is 2.6° to the upper left of the planet, while Venus is 0.7° to the lower left of Delta Scorpii (δ Sco on the charts.

2021, October 15: Venus is 1.4° to the lower left of dim Rho Ophiuchi (ρ Oph). Use a binocular. Notice that Venus, Antares, and Sigma Scorpii (σ Sco) make a triangle.

On October 15, Venus crosses into Ophiuchus for one evening.  Then it is back inside the boundary of Scorpius on the next evening.  The planet is 1.4° to the lower left of dim Rho Ophiuchi (ρ Oph).  Use a binocular.  Notice that Venus, Antares, and Sigma Scorpii (σ Sco) make a triangle.

2021, October 16: Venus passes Antares. In this simulated binocular view note the locations of the planet with the starry background.

On the next evening (October 16), Venus passes Antares.  Venus is 1.4° to the upper right of the star.

Venus moves back into Ophiuchus on October 21.

2021, October 29: Venus is at its greatest elongation.

Venus reaches is at its greatest separation from the sun on October 29.  Known as the greatest elongation, Venus is 27.0° from the sun.  Through a telescope, Venus displays an evening half phase. It sets over 2 hours (136 minutes) after sundown.  After two more nights Ophiuchus, Venus moves into Sagittarius.

Venus as an Evening Star Article

2021, July 26: Evening Sky, Mars Closes In

July 26, 2021:  Four bright planets are in the evening sky.  Mars closes in on Regulus for their conjunction in three evenings.  Brilliant Evening Star Venus appears to the upper left of the impending Mars – Regulus conjunction.  Saturn and Jupiter are low in the southeastern sky after sunset.

2021, July 25: Evening Sky, Mars on Final Approach

July 25, 2021:  Four evenings before its conjunction with Regulus, find Mars in the western sky to the lower right of Venus.  As the calendar day ends, look for the moon below bright Jupiter.

2021, July 24: Four Evening Planets, Moon

July 24, 2021: After sunset, Venus and Mars are in the western sky.  A little later during evening hours, the moon is near Jupiter and Saturn in the southeast.

2021, July 29: Jupiter – Mars Opposition

July 29, 2021:  Jupiter and Mars are 180° apart along the ecliptic.  Dim Mars sets in the west-northwest as Jupiter rises in the east-southeast.  This event signals that soon both appear in the sky simultaneously.

Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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