October 21-November 1, 2021: Brilliant Venus steps through Ophiuchus to the upper left of the star Antares in the southwest after sunset . Afterward, the planet steps farther eastward.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Venus is “that bright star shining” in the southwest after sunset. From October 21 through November1, the brilliant planet steps through the southern section of Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer.
The brightest star in the region is Theta Ophiuchi (θ Oph on the chart). To see it easily, a binocular is helpful. It is a celestial marker to watch the eastward motion of Venus.
While Theta Ophiuchi looks dim, the star is over 500 light years away and shines with an intensity of over 2,000 suns.
On October 21, Venus is nearly mid-way between Antares and Theta Ophiuchi, 5.6° to the upper left of Antares.
Each evening Antares is becoming more difficult to spot as it is lower in the southwestern sky.
Venus passes 1.7° to the lower left of Theta Ophiuchi on October 27.
By the end of the sequence shown on the chart, Venus is 5.2° to the upper left of the star.
The planet moves into Sagittarius and two conjunctions with the moon during November and December.
October 29, 2021: Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the sun. It is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn. The crescent moon and Mercury are in the eastern sky before sunrise.
October 29 – November 1, 2021: The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!
October 26, 27, and 28, 2021: During the early morning hours, the bright gibbous moon appears in front of Gemini’s stars.
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.