February 16, 2022: The second Venus – Mars conjunction of a triple conjunction occurs this morning. Mercury is at greatest elongation. The nearly-full moon is in the west-northwest before sunrise.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:45 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:25 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The first conjunction occurred July 12, 2021, when Mars was leaving the evening sky before its solar conjunction on October 7. Venus was in its evening appearance.
Mars slowly crawled into the morning sky. It was low in the southeast as the new year began.
Venus began to retrograde – move westward compared to the stars – on December 18. It rapidly left the evening sky and passed its solar conjunction on January 8, racing into the morning sky. The brilliant planet retrograded until January 30.
Meanwhile, Mars marched eastward through Sagittarius, slowly closing in on the Morning Star.
As Venus slowly picks up its eastward speed, compared to the stars, Mars passes this morning in a wide conjunction.
The gap is wide because Venus appears nearly 6° above the ecliptic, while Mars is slightly below the solar system’s plane.
As Venus speeds up, it passes Mars for the third conjunction in the series on March 6.
This morning, find brilliant Venus over 15° up in the southeast. Its brilliance rivals airplane lights. Dimmer Mars is 6.2° to the lower right of Venus.
Mercury reaches its greatest elongation from the sun today. The planet is usually a challenge to see. Today it is the farthest from the sun that we see it as it rounds the extent of its orbit and moves toward the far side of the sun.
Even at this greatest elongation, the planet is low in the sky at 45 minutes before sunrise, over 15° to the lower left of Venus and less than 5° above the horizon.
At this hour, the moon is nearly 12° up in the west-northwest, 6.4° to the right of Regulus. The moon is Full at 10:56 a.m. CST today.
Jupiter is reaching the end of its visibility at forty-five minutes after sunset. It is only 3° above the west-southwest horizon.
At this hour, the moon is low in the east-northeastern sky.
A large planet dance shifts to the morning sky.
September 16, 2022: During the nighttime hours, Mars, the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn are strung across the sky. Before daybreak, look for the gibbous moon between Mars and the Pleiades star cluster.Keep reading
September 15, 2022: Three bright planets – Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter – are strung across the sky after midnight. Before sunrise, look for the moon near Mars.Keep reading
September 14, 2022: Three bright planets and the moon are visible overnight. The moon is near Uranus before daybreak. The Sickle of Leo is in the eastern sky before sunrise.Keep reading