April 1, 2022: Brilliant Morning Star Venus, Mars, and Saturn are in the east-southeast before sunrise. The planetary bunch fits into a binocular’s field of View. Mars approaches Saturn for a conjunction on April 5.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:33 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:16 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The moon is at its New phase at 1:24 a.m. CDT. Look for it low in the western sky after sunset in two days.
Daylight continues to lengthen. Today it is nearly 12 hours, 45 minutes long.
Venus is that “bright star” in the east-southeast before sunrise. It entered the morning sky after its inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun during early January.
It is the gem of the morning planet activity in the south-eastern sky. It had two conjunctions with Mars during February and March, as well as a minimum separation with the Red Planet.
Saturn entered the morning sky after its solar conjunction during early February.
Venus, Mars, and Saturn formed a rare grouping on March 28.
Venus passed Saturn, the next morning.
Venus is quickly stepping away from Saturn as Mars approaches the Ringed Wonder.
At forty-five minutes before sunrise, Venus is about 11° above the east-southeast horizon. Mars is 6.2° to the right of Venus and 2.4° to the upper right of Saturn. The Ringed Wonder is 3.9° to the lower right of Venus.
The three planets continue to appear in a binocular’s field of view.
Through a telescope, Venus shows a morning gibbous phase that is 55% illuminated.
As Venus moves eastward along the plane of the solar system, it opens a gap to Saturn. The three planets continue to appear in a binocular’s field of view.
The next event is a Mars – Saturn conjunction on April 5. The accompanying chart shows daily placement of Mars and Saturn in a binocular field. It places Saturn at the center of the field of view. In this view, Venus only appears with Mars and Saturn one day; however, all three are in the same field of view until April 4.
The chart shows the motion of Mars and Saturn, April 1 through April 10. Mars closes the gap to Saturn and appears 0.4° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder on April 5. Then Mars continues its eastward march and opens a gap to Saturn.
Jupiter is slowly entering the morning sky. This morning the Jovian Giant rises 39 minutes before sunup. While it is still in bright twilight, the gap to Venus is 25.9°. Venus catches Jupiter on April 30 in a close conjunction.
Tomorrow, Mercury is at superior conjunction on the far arc of its orbit behind the sun. It moves into the evening sky in the bright starfields of Taurus, passing the Pleiades star cluster and appearing with the evening crescent moon later in the month.
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