November 12, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus is in the Teapot this evening, passing Kaus Borealis. Saturn and Jupiter are visible to the upper left of Venus.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:37 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:32 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Mercury and Mars are low in the east-southeast before sunrise. Mercury is bright, but only about 3° above the horizon at 30 minutes before sunup. Mars is 2.0° to the upper right of the speedy planet.
Mercury is moving toward its superior conjunction, in the sun’s bright glare, on November 28. Mars is creeping into the morning sky, after its solar conjunction on October 7.
The planet pack – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – is in the southern sky after sunset. Venus is stepping through Sagittarius. The pattern more resembles a teapot than a centaur.
This evening Venus passes 1.7° to the lower left of Kaus Borealis (λ Sgr on the chart) – “the northern part of the bow” of the Archer. Find the planet over 12° up in the southwest, one hour after sundown. Use a binocular to see the stars at this level of later twilight.
In the teapot, Kaus Borealis represents the star at the top of the lid of the pot. The star is reddish in color and it is less than 100 light years away. The star is thought to have a diameter that is over 10 times larger than our sun, shining with a brightness of over 50 suns.
Saturn, stepping slowly eastward in Capricornus, is over 30° to the upper left of Venus. Bright Jupiter is 15° to the left of Saturn. The Jovian Giant is moving eastward against the sidereal backdrop as well, in front of the stars of Eastern Capricornus. This evening, the moon is nearly 16° beyond (to the east of) Jupiter.
Jupiter moves into the western edge of Aquarius on December 14. Use a binocular to watch its slow eastward advancement compared to the distant, dimmer stars in the region.
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.