November 19, 2021: This evening Venus leaves the star pattern that is frequently referred to as the Teapot. It is part of the constellation Sagittarius. The planet stays within the formal constellation until March 7, 2022.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:45 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:27 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Brilliant Venus is visible in the southwest after sunset. It is appearing closer to Jupiter and Saturn as the year edges toward its close.
Venus is moving eastward in Sagittarius. It is passing through the shape known today as the Teapot. This evening the planet passes 0.2° to the lower left of the star Nunki. Informally, it is in the pot’s handle. In the formal constellation, the star marks the vane of the arrow that the centaur is ready to launch from its bow.
Use a binocular to spot the planet, Nunki and the other three stars of the Teapot’s handle.
Notice that Venus continues stepping toward Saturn. This evening the gap is 25.5°. Jupiter is 15.9° to the upper left of the Ringed Wonder.
With your pointer finger, trace an imaginary line from Venus through Saturn to Jupiter. This figure represents part of the imaginary plane of the solar system, the ecliptic.
Watch Venus step away from Nunki and the pot’s handle and move toward Saturn. Meanwhile, Saturn and Jupiter are slowly moving eastward compared to the stars.
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.