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.
December 30, 2021: The morning crescent moon seems to be captured in the Scorpion’s pincers to the upper right of Mars. Four Evening Planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are in the southwest after sundown.
December 28, 2021: The Great Andromeda Galaxy is nearly overhead at the end of the evening twilight.
December 29, 2021: The morning crescent moon approaches Scorpius and Mars. In the evening sky, four evening planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are lined up in the southwest. Venus is rapidly leaving the evening sky.
November 28, 2021: During twilight this evening, the three bright evening planets – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – are on parade in the southwestern sky.
December 28, 2021: Brilliant Venus is quickly slipping from the evening sky. Mercury appears beneath Venus after sunset. This duo is joined by Jupiter and Saturn. In the morning, Mars is near Antares and the moon near Spica.