September 18, 2021: Venus moves into the boundaries of the classic Scorpion. Today the pattern is divided into Libra and Scorpius. Each evening watch the position of Venus change compared to the sidereal background.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:34 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:54 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
This evening brilliant Venus begins its trek through the classic Scorpion. The larger pattern has been broken into two constellations, Libra and Scorpius.
The names of the two brighter stars in Libra retained their original names, Zubenelgenubi – “the southern claw of the scorpion” – and Zubeneschamali – “the northern claw of the Scorpion.
Unlike slow-moving Jupiter and Saturn, Venus quickly steps eastward compared to the brighter stars of these constellations. As the chart above indicates, its place in the stars is easily-tracked from night to night.
Venus passes Zubenelgenubi on September 23. Followed by a conjunction with Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius, on October 15.
The moon makes a nice grouping with Venus and the stars in the Scorpion’s head on October 9.
For more about Venus with the Scorpion, see the detailed article.
Detailed Daily Note: Three bright planets are visible after sunset along with a nearly-full moon. The Evening star moves into the classic Scorpion (Libra and Scorpius) this evening. Forty-five minutes after sunset, Venus is over 8° up in the west-southwest, 6.2° to the lower right of Zubenelgenubi. Venus sets at the end of evening twilight and continues to set after this time interval until December 26. Farther eastward, the bright moon (12.0d, 96%) is nearly 12° up in the southeast. Jupiter, 19.0° above the southeast horizon, is 10.1° to the upper right of the lunar orb. Saturn is 16.4° to the upper right of the Jovian Giant. As midnight approaches, the lunar sphere is over one-third of the way up in the south, west of the meridian. Jupiter is to the right of the moon. Use a binocular to see the planets with the sidereal background. Jupiter is 2.5° to the lower right of μ Cap, 1.4°, to the upper right of Deneb Algedi, and 2.1° to the upper left of Nashira. Saturn, over 22° up in the south-southwest and to the lower right of Jupiter, is 1.2° below υ Cap.
Articles and Summaries
- 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.