November 6, 2021: The midpoint of Autumn occurs today.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Today is the midpoint of Autumn at 12:35 p.m. CDT. The season lasts 2156 hours, 28 minutes. It ends December 21 at 9:59 a.m. CST. Today the length of darkness exceeds daylight.
At the latitude of Chicago, Illinois, daylight lasts ten hours, 10 minutes.
Nighttime can be divided into twilight and darkness. Twilight is the illumination that occurs after sunset and before sunrise. The sun is below the horizon, while its light shines through the atmosphere. Today, total twilight lasts three hours, ten minutes. Darkness, the time between the end of evening twilight and the beginning of morning twilight, spans ten hours, forty minutes.
There’s more in the daylight/darkness transition in the article linked here.
Mercury is visible in the morning sky before sunrise. The planet is bright, but somewhat difficult to spot in the brighter twilight at 30 minutes before sunrise.
Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are beginning to make a pack in the southwestern sky after sunset.
The Evening Star is over 11° above the southwestern horizon at 45 minutes after sunset. The crescent moon is over 17° to the lower right of the Evening Star.
Note that Venus is 3.1° to the upper right of Alnasl, “the point of the arrow” of Sagittarius. A binocular is helpful to see Venus and the star. Watch the planet step past the stars in the “Teapot.”
Saturn is over 36° to the upper left of Venus and bright Jupiter is over 15° beyond the Ringed Wonder.
January 5, 2022: Jupiter and the crescent are 5.5° in the evening sky. Look for Mercury and Saturn with the planet-moon duo. Earlier, Venus is low in the west-southwest. Before sunrise, Mars is near Antares.
January 4, 2022: Earth is at perihelion today – it’s closest point to the sun. Mars is a morning planet, while the evening planet pack – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – and the crescent moon are in the southwest after sundown.
January 3, 2022: The moon passes Venus for the final time of this evening appearance of Venus. As night falls, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter are visible in the southwest. Mars is in the southeast before sunrise.
December 30, 2021: As the year ends and the new one opens, the night sky’s brightest star – Sirius – is in the southern sky at the midnight hour.
December 31, 2021: This morning before sunup, the thin waning crescent moon appears near Mars and the star Antares. Four planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are on parade in the southwest after sundown.