2021, November 6:  Autumn’s Midpoint

November 6, 2021:  The midpoint of Autumn occurs today.

Autumn Leaves
Photo Caption – Autumn Leaves (Photo by Alex Kozlov on Pexels.com)


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. 

2021, November 6: The moon passes Alnasl in Sagittarius. The crescent moon is to the lower right of the Evening Star.
Chart Caption – 2021, November 6: The moon passes Alnasl in Sagittarius. The crescent moon is to the lower right of the Evening Star.

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.



Crescent Moon, Venus, and Aldebaran, July 17, 2020

2022, June 30: Planet Racetrack, Green Star

June 30, 2022: The gap between the four morning planets continues to widen.  In the evening sky a green star may lie among the stars of Scorpius that is in the south as twilight ends.

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An image like this shows that our galaxy is always "partly cloudy." Not unlike Earthly clouds that block parts of the sky (say on a starry night), tremendous clouds of gas and dust obscure the things that are beyond them.

2022, June 29:  Last Call, Mercury, Night Sky, Black Hole

2022, June 29: Sagittarius A star, the Milky Way’s suspected black hole, is in the south during the midnight hour.

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Venus and Jupiter in the morning sky, July 21, 2012

2022, June 28: Morning Planets

June 28, 2022: Four bright morning planets are easy to spot before sunrise.  Mercury is a challenge to spot, making it five worlds if you can see it.

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Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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