October 15, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus is near the star Antares this evening after sunset. Another star in Scorpius, Al Niyat, along with Venus and Antares mark the corners of a small celestial triangle.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:03 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:09 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
This evening, brilliant Venus continues its eastward trek through Scorpius. Look for the planet low in the southwest at forty-five minutes after sunset.
It is nearing a conjunction with Antares – “the rival of Mars.” In celestial artwork, the star is the Scorpion’s art.
Al Niyat – “the artery” is to the right of Antares. Tau Scorpii (τ Sco on the chart) is sometimes assigned the same name. The stars’ proximities Antares indicate the important cardiac function of that star.
This evening, a binocular is helpful to initially see the trio. Can you find all three without the binocular’s optical assist? Antares and Al Niyat are 2.0° apart. Venus is 1.4° to the upper left of Al Niyat and 1.7° to the upper right of Antares. This is not quite an equilateral triangle, but together they are a pretty sight.
Farther eastward the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn are toward the southeastern sky. See this article or listen to the podcast about them on your favorite audio service for more information about the moon and the two giant planets.
Detailed Daily Note: The moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus are strung across the sky from east to west after sunset. The bright moon (9.5d, 79%) is about 20° up in the southeast. Jupiter is that “bright star”, 8.0° to the upper right of the lunar orb. Saturn, nearly 28° up in the south-southeast, is 15.4° of ecliptic longitude west (to the right) of Jupiter. At forty-five minutes after sunset, Venus, 57.7° of ecliptic longitude west of Saturn, is 10.0° up in the southwest. It is 1.4° to the upper left of Al Niyat and 1.7° to the upper right of Antares, not quite an equilateral triangle. At 46° east of the sun, Venus is an evening gibbous, 56% illuminated and 21.6” across. Venus sets nearly two hours after sunset. At this time the moon is over 28° above the south-southeast horizon. Jupiter is to the upper right of the lunar orb. Saturn, is at about the same altitude as the moon and nearly 23° to its right. The Ringed Wonder is slightly west of the meridian. As the calendar day ends, the trio is in the southwest. The moon is 24° above the horizon. Jupiter is to its lower right. Saturn is only about 9° above the southwestern horizon.
October 26, 2021: Mercury is at its greatest morning appearance for the year. Look low in the east-southeast before sunrise.
October 25, 2021: This morning the bright gibbous moon seems to be caught between the horns of Taurus. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. The planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky.
October 24, 2021: Saturn is at its closest to Jupiter as the Jovian Giant picks up eastward speed. The morning moon and Mercury are visible before sunrise. Brilliant Evening Star Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the sky after sunset.
October 23, 2021: This morning the bright moon is near the Pleiades star cluster. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. In the evening sky, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are easy to spot.
October 22. 2021: Speedy Mercury is low in the east before sunrise. It is putting on its best morning performance of the year. Arcturus, in the east-northeast, is about the same altitude as Mercury.