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.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:18 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:31 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
This evening, Venus and the crescent moon make their final appearance together as the Evening Star leaves the sky enroute to the morning sky.
Find a clear horizon toward the southwest. An elevated structure or a hilltop with a good southwestern view may provide a better view.
About 30 minutes after sunset, Venus is only 3.5° up in the southwest. It is bright enough to be seen without the optical assist from a binocular, but use one to initially to find Venus. The crescent moon, only 2% illuminated, is 11.5° to the left of the Evening Star.
Mercury is bright enough to be visible at this hour. In a binocular, it is in the same field of view as the moon, 4.5° above the lunar slice.
This morning Mars continues its slow climb into the southeastern sky before sunup. At 45 minutes before sunrise, the Red Planet is over 10° up in the southeast, 6.5° to the left of Antares. They fit in the same binocular field of view.
Mars continues its eastward trek through the constellation Ophiuchus until later this month as Venus skips into the morning sky after its inferior conjunction on January 8.
Forty-five minutes after sundown, Venus is below the horizon and the moon is very challenging to see. Bright Mercury is about 7° up in the sky in the southwest. Brighter Jupiter is less than 30° to the upper left of Mercury and nearly 19° to the upper left of Saturn.
The Ringed Wonder is 10.0° to the upper left of Mercury. That’s about the distance across your fist – from thumb knuckle to pinky finger knuckle – when you extend your arm.
What is the last evening you see Venus? Inferior conjunction is five days away.
- 2023, October 20: Jupiter’s Double Shadows, Mercury at Superior ConjunctionOctober 20: After midnight, Jupiter’s moons’ shadows dance across the cloud tops. Mercury is at superior conjunction.
- 2023, October 19: Poured Moon, See Planet UranusOctober 19: Sagittarius seems to pour the moon into the sky this evening. Find Uranus with a binocular.
- 2023, October 18: Moon-Antares Conjunction, Bright PlanetsOctober 18, 2023: The moon is near Antares after sunset. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the sky during the nighttime hours.
- 2023, October 17: Scorpion MoonOctober 17, 2023: The crescent moon is with Scorpius during evening twilight. Venus and Jupiter gleam from the predawn sky.
- 2023, October 16: Venus in Starry ConjunctionOctober 16, 2023: Venus passes a star in Leo before sunrise. A crescent moon is low in the western sky during evening twilight.