2022, January 17: Four Bright Planets

January 17, 2022:  Morning Star Venus joins Mars in the southeastern sky before sunrise.  Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southwest during the evening’s early hours.  Look for the moon near the star Pollux.

2022, January 17: Venus joins Mars in the morning sky before sunrise.
Chart Caption – 2022, January 17: Venus joins Mars in the morning sky before sunrise.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 7:15 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:47 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Morning Sky

Venus becomes easier to see each morning in the east-southeast before sunrise.  It joins Mars as a morning planet. At about 45 minutes before sunrise, the brilliant Morning Star is nearly 5° above the horizon.

Dimmer Mars, moving eastward in Ophiuchus is 20.1° to the upper right of Venus.  The star Antares – the heart of the Scorpion – is 15.4° to the upper right of the Red Planet.

Each morning at about this time interval before sunrise, watch Venus appear higher in the sky and closer to Mars.

As Venus moves into the morning sky, it is retrograding, moving westward compared to the stars.  The planet resumes its eastward motion on January 30.

Farther westward, the bright moon is very low in the west-northwest.

Evening Sky

2022, January 17: Bright Jupiter is in the southwest after sunset. Saturn is lower in the west-southwest.
Chart Caption – 2022, January 17: Bright Jupiter is in the southwest after sunset. Saturn is lower in the west-southwest.

In the evening sky, bright Jupiter is easily found over 20° above the southwest horizon at 45 minutes after sunset.  The planet sets over three hours after sunset. 

At this hour, Saturn is over 20° to the lower right of the bright planet.  It is about 6° above the west-southwest horizon.  The Ringed Wonder disappears into brighter twilight during the next few evenings.  This evening it sets 90 minutes after sunset.

Diligent observers may find Mercury very low in the sky and near the horizon with a very clear, unobstructed horizon and a telescope, to the lower right of Saturn.

Mercury passes between Earth and the sun on January 23.

Farther eastward, the bright moon is low in the sky, below the star Pollux.

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