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 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.
October 21, 2021: The bright moon is low in the west about an hour before sunrise. Mercury is in the east at about the same altitude as Arcturus. Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter shine from the evening sky.
December 18, 2021: This is the anticipated launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most sophisticated space telescope view the universe.
October 20, 2021: Mercury is brightening in the morning sky. Brilliant Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky. The bright moon starts the evening low in the eastern sky.
October 19, 2021: Four bright planets are visible during a twenty-four-hour interval. Mercury is in the morning sky, while Venus, Saturn and Jupiter are joined by a nearly full moon.