During 2022, Morning Star Venus puts on a magnificent dance with Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the moon in eastern sky before sunrise. Next Event: Venus, Mars, and the moon gather, January 29, 2022.
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by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Venus enters the morning sky and becomes a bright beacon in the east-southeast by the end of January 2022. The morning appearance has Venus passing Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter. In addition, Mars passes the two giant planets. This begins a magnificent dance of the planets.
Venus’ morning appearance begins on January 8th when it passes between Earth and the sun. This is known as inferior conjunction.
The planet then gallops into the morning sky. Enthusiastic sky watchers can find it low in the east-southeast at 30 minutes before sunrise on January 15th.
Nearly a week later, it is visible 45 minutes before sunup, to the lower left of dimmer Mars. In less than two weeks, the planet gallops from bright sunlight until it rises at the beginning of morning twilight.
The planet enters its phase of its greatest brightness, February 9 through February 14.
Venus and Mars are in the midst of a triple conjunction that started last summer. The second conjunction occurs on February 16, followed by the third on March 6.
Meanwhile, Saturn begins its climb into the morning sky after its solar conjunction on February 4, followed by Jupiter on March 7. That puts four bright naked-eye planets in the morning sky for easy observation.
On the morning of March 28, Venus, Saturn, and Mars are bunched together with the crescent moon. The three planets fit into a circle that is 5.3° in diameter and easily within a binocular field.
The next bunching of this trio occurs again on September 6, 2040, when the group fits within a circle, 3.4°.
On March 29, Venus passes Saturn, followed by a Saturn-Mars conjunction on April 5.
On April 14, Venus rises at the beginning of morning twilight, 100 minutes before sunup, and does not rise again in a dark sky during this apparition.
Likely the most interesting appearances occur when the moon passes by the four planets from April 24 through April 27. The quartet is lined up across the southeastern sky, across an arc about 33° long.
On April 27, the lunar crescent is near Jupiter and Venus. The trio fits into a binocular field. Find a clear horizon, because the moon is low in the sky. This morning, Venus passes Neptune, but the more distant planet is dim and difficult to locate in the blush of morning twilight.
Three mornings later, Venus passes Jupiter in a close (Proximate) conjunction. Another Venus – Jupiter conjunction occurs in the evening sky on March 2, 2023.
Mars passes Jupiter on May 29.
Venus passes Uranus on June 12. Less than two weeks later, the Morning Star passes the Pleiades star cluster and Aldebaran on July 1.
The highlight of the appearance is a five-planet display. During June 14 – 27, the five naked eye planets are visible before sunup with the crescent moon. Likely the best morning is June 27, when the crescent moon is near Mercury.
Beginning in mid-July, Venus begins a slow slide that carries it deeper into brighter twilight and eventually its superior conjunction on the far side of the sun on October 22.
Venus passes Pollux (August 6) and Regulus (September 9).
Each morning, Saturn and Jupiter appear farther west until they set at the time Venus rises. After these Venus – Saturn opposition and Venus – Jupiter opposition, the planet pairs are not in the sky together.
The Venus – Saturn opposition is August 28. The second opposition is October 1. At these planet – planet oppositions, Earth is between the two planets.
This apparition promises a fantastic dance of the planets and the moon. Every morning displays a slightly different view of the places of the worlds.
Dates when the moon is near Venus:
- January 29
- February 27
- March 28
- April 27
- May 27
- June 26
- July 26
- August 25
- September 24
- 2023, December 28: Gemini Moon, Morning Star, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 28, 2023: The bright moon is near Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins. Venus is in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter and Saturn shine during the evening hours.
- 2023, December 27: Morning Cold Moon, Morning Star, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 27, 2023: The Cold Moon is in the western sky before sunrise. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are visible during nighttime hours.
- 2023, December 26: Cold Moon, Venus, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 26, 2023: The Cold Moon is visible during the nighttime hours. Venus shines before sunrise while Jupiter and Saturn are visible after sundown.
- 2023, December 25: Telescope First Light, Bright PlanetsDecember 25, 2023: For sky watchers with new telescopes, here’s what to look at before dawn or after sunset.
- 2023, December 24: Morning Moon, Pleiades, Antares Heliacal RisingDecember 24, 2023: The moon appears near the Pleiades star cluster during the earlier morning hours. Antares is at its first morning appearance, known as the heliacal rising.