2021, November 16:  Venus Gets a Handle

November 16, 2021:  Brilliant Venus starts to move through the Teapot of Sagittarius this evening.  Look for the brilliant Evening Star gleaming in the southwestern sky after sunset.

2021, November 16: Brilliant Venus is visible in the southwestern sky after sunset. Saturn is to the upper left of the Evening Star.
Chart Caption – 2021, November 16: Brilliant Venus is visible in the southwestern sky after sunset. Saturn is to the upper left of the Evening Star.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:42 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:29 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Brilliant Venus shines from the southwestern sky after sunset.  Look for it over 14° up in the sky at 45 minutes after the sun leaves the western sky.  It is the brightest “star” in the sky and it can be easily mistaken for the lights on an airplane.

The planet continues its trek through the constellation Sagittarius, moving into the handle this evening.

The constellation, named for the mythical centaur, resembles a teapot.

2021, November 16: Through a binocular, Venus is 0.2° to the right of Phi Sagittarii (φ Sgr).
Chart Caption – 2021, November 16: Through a binocular, Venus is 0.2° to the right of Phi Sagittarii (φ Sgr).

This evening, the planet is very close to Phi Sagittarii (φ Sgr on the chart).  The gap is 0.2°, less than the diameter of the waning gibbous moon that is in the eastern sky at this hour.

Use a binocular to spot the four stars in the teapot’s handle. Look each clear evening to note the planet’s eastward trek.  Venus passes the star Nunki in three evenings.

Saturn is about 28° to the upper left of brilliant Venus.  Bright Jupiter is about 15° to the upper left of the Ringed Wonder.

In three mornings (November 19), the moon slips into Earth’s shadow for a near-total lunar eclipse.  Set your clocks for an early wakeup to see it!

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