January 16, 2022: Mercury is leaving the evening sky, followed by Saturn. Bright Jupiter is in the southwest after sundown. Venus and Mars are in the southeast before sunup.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:15 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:46 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Venus continues to spring into the morning sky. It rises earlier each morning. It joins Mars in the southeastern sky.
At about 45 minutes before sunrise, the brilliant Morning Star is nearly 4° up in the east-southeast. It is easily visible from an observing spot that has a clear view of the natural horizon in that direction. Each morning the planet is higher in the sky.
At this hour, Mars is nearly 11° up in the southeast, 21.2° to the upper right of Venus and 14.7° to the lower left of the star Antares – the heart of Scorpius.
The Red Planet is marching eastward in Ophiuchus. It crosses into the constellation Sagittarius on January 20.
Farther westward, the bright moon is very low in the west-northwest.
Three bright planets are in the evening sky, although Mercury and Saturn are slowly disappearing in the sun’s bright glare. Mercury passes between Earth and the sun and jumps into the morning sky.
At forty-five minutes after sunset, find bright Jupiter, over 20° above the southwest horizon. At this hour, it is the brightest “star” in the sky. It is slowly moving eastward in Aquarius.
Saturn, over 20° to the lower right of Jupiter, is about 6° up in the west-southwest. The Ringed Wonder passes behind the sun later next month.
Mercury is only 4° above the horizon and 4.7° to the lower right of Saturn. Use a binocular to find them. They are in the same field of view.
The planet’s brightness is fading quickly as it slips into evening twilight. This might be the last evening to see the planet as it moves toward its inferior conjunction in a week. So, “Goodbye, Mercury!”
The star Fomalhaut – “the mouth of the southern fish – is about 20° to the lower left of Jupiter.
Farther eastward, the bright moon is in the middle of Gemini.
- 2023, October 22: Moon Approaches SaturnOctober 22, 2023: During evening hours, the gibbous moon nears Saturn in the southern sky. Venus and Jupiter are visible during morning twilight.
- 2023, October 21: Three Bright Planets, First Quarter MoonOctober 21, 2023: Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are easy to locate during nighttime hours. The First Quarter moon phase occurs this evening.
- 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.