November 29 – December 1, 2021: The morning crescent moon moves through the constellation Virgo on November 29, November 30, and December 1. Mars is slowly climbing into the morning sky. Evening Star Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the southwest after sundown.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
The morning moon moves through the constellation Virgo during the next three mornings. The moon is in the southeast before sunrise.
On November 29, the lunar slice, 30% illuminated, is less than have way up in the southeast, 8.5° to the upper right of the star Porrima.
The next morning, November 30, the crescent is 20% illuminated and 9.7° above Spica.
The new month places a thin crescent less than 20° above the horizon, and 7.7° to the lower left of Spica.
Dim Mars is making its way in the morning sky. It is about 9° up in the east-southeast at 30 minutes before sunrise. Tomorrow morning at this time interval, the moon and Mars are at opposite edges of a binocular’s field of view.
Brilliant Venus, bright Jupiter, and Saturn are in the southern sky after sunset. Step outside about an hour after sundown and look southward. Jupiter might be the first “bright star” to catch your eye. It is about one-third of the way up in the south.
Brilliant Venus, though, is the show stopper. The Evening Star is 14° up in the south-southwest at one hour after sunset. It is in its interval of greatest brightness, shining like the lights on an airplane. Through a telescope, the planet’s evening crescent phase is about 30% illuminated.
Saturn, dimmer than Venus and Jupiter, is about midway between the two bright worlds. After Venus, Jupiter, Vega, and Capella, Saturn is the next brightest “star” in the evening sky.
Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are moving eastward compared to the starry background.
Look for the evening planet pack during the early evening hours. Venus sets about two hours, forty-five minutes after sunset. Saturn follows about two hours later. Jupiter sets nearly six hours after sunset.
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.