2022, February 10: Equal Daylight, Darkness, Four Bright Planets

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February 10, 2022: Daylight and Darkness are equal today.  Brilliant Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in the southeast before sunup.  Jupiter and the bright moon are in the evening sky.

Photo Caption: Early morning twilight.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:53 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:18 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Today daylight and darkness are equal at 10 hours, 26 minutes.  This should not be confused with the Vernal Equinox, that occurs March 20 at 10:33 a.m. CDT.

The day’s 24-hour interval can be divided into daytime, twilight, and darkness.  Easily daytime occurs when the sun is in the sky, regardless if the sky is clear or cloudy. 

Twilight occurs before sunrise and after sunset, when the sun is below the horizon, but illuminates the atmosphere. At Chicago’s latitude, morning twilight begins 92 minutes before sunrise and ends at the same interval after sundown today.

After twilight ends and before it begins the next morning, the sky is as dark as it gets naturally from the sun’s absence.  A bright moon may illuminate the ground, though this is not from direct sunlight.

Nighttime is twilight and darkness together. 

From today forward, daylight is longer than darkness until October 30, when the lengths reverse.

Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2022, February 10: Three bright planets – Venus, Mercury, and Mars, are in the southeast during morning twilight.

SUMMARY OF PLANETS IN 2022 MORNING SKY

Brilliant Morning Star Venus is over 15° up in the southeastern sky at 45 minutes before sunup.  That’s about the middle of morning twilight.  The planet is slowly moving eastward and beginning to pick up eastward speed compared to the stars.

Mars is slowly overtaking Venus.  In a week, Mars moves past Venus for the second conjunction of a triple conjunction. 

This morning, Mars is 6.9° to the lower right of Venus.  Mars passes Nunki this morning.  The planet is 2.8° to the upper left of the star. A binocular is helpful to see this pair.

Nunki is in the handle of the Teapot of Sagittarius.

Mercury, over 5° above the east-southeast horizon, is 13.8° to the lower left of Venus.  The gap widens quickly after this morning.  Find a clear horizon to see the elusive planet.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2022, February 10: At mid-twilight, Jupiter is low in the west-southwest.

Bright Jupiter is slowly departing the evening sky.  At mid-twilight, it is over 7° up in the west.  The Jovian Giant sets 85 minutes after sunset.  The sunset time decreases about four minutes each evening.  In ten evenings, the planet sets at this time interval after sundown.

Chart Caption – 2022, February 10: The moon is near the horns of Taurus in the evening sky.

Farther eastward, the bright moon, 72% illuminated and high in the east-southeast, is nearing Elnath and Zeta Tauri – the horns of Taurus.

The lunar orb is 5.6° to the lower right of Elnath and 11.4° to the upper left of Aldebaran.

Tomorrow evening, the moon is to the left of the Bull’s horns, near the feet of Gemini.

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