2022, January 5:  Jupiter – Evening Moon, Morning Mars

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.

2022, January 5: Forty-five minutes after sunset, Jupiter and the moon are close together. Saturn and Mercury are nearby.
Chart Caption – 2022, January 5: Forty-five minutes after sunset, Jupiter and the moon are close together. Saturn and Mercury are nearby.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 7:18 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:34 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

At forty-five minutes after sundown his evening the crescent moon – 14% illuminated – is 5.5° to the lower left of bright Jupiter. 

The moon, January 15, 2021
Photo Caption: An evening crescent moon with earthshine.

Look for earthshine on the night portion of the moon.  Reflected sunlight from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land gently illuminates the night portion of the moon.

At this hour Venus has departed the evening sky.

Saturn and Mercury are visible to the lower right of the Jupiter – Moon duo.   Mercury is the brighter of the other two planets. It is about 7° up in the southwest.  A clear view of the horizon is necessary. An elevated structure or a hilltop with a clear southwestern skyline is helpful.

Saturn is 7.6° to the upper left of speedy Mercury and too far away for both to fit into the same binocular field.

Morning Sky

2022, January 5: Before sunup, Mars is 7.6° to the lower left of Antares.
Chart caption – 2022, January 5: Before sunup, Mars is 7.6° to the lower left of Antares.

Mars is in the morning sky before sunrise.  It is 7.6° to the lower left of the star Antares, the heart of the Scorpion.  The star is brighter than Mars. The Red Planet is slowly marching eastward among the stars of Ophiuchus.

Mars is over 10° above the southeast horizon at 45 minutes before sunrise. 

After mid-month, Venus appears in the eastern sky with Mars. On February 16, Venus and Mars appear together in a wide conjunction.  The two planets are separated by 6.2°.  This is the second conjunction of three, a triple conjunction that started last year.

Evening Sky

2022, January 5: Twenty minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is low in the south-southwest.
Chart Caption – 2022, January 5: Twenty minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is low in the south-southwest.

Before the moon and three brighter planets are visible, Venus is very low in the west-southwest at about 20 minutes after sunset.  It is heading toward its inferior conjunction in three days, when it passes between our planet and the sun and jumps into the morning sky.

It is bright enough to be seen at this hour without a binocular, it is only about 3° above the horizon.  A very clear, cloud-free, and obstruction-free horizon is needed to see it.

Look for the crescent moon about 40° to the upper left of the brilliant planet.  Can you find Jupiter?  If it is not visible to the unaided eye, the crescent and Jupiter are on opposite ends of a binocular field with the moon at the bottom of the view.

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