April 20, 2022: Venus begins its approach to Jupiter, leading up to their April 30, 2022 proximate conjunction. Mars and Saturn are to the upper right of Saturn. Mercury is in the western sky after sunset.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:03 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:37 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Step outside during morning twilight. The bright moon, 83% illuminated, is 20° up in the south-southwest, 9.2° to the upper left of Antares – “the rival of Mars.” The star marks the heart of Scorpius.
The moon is in front of the stars of Ophiuchus, the Serpent Holder. It is one of the sixteen constellations that the moon and planets can appear. This includes Cetus, Orion, and Sextans. Tomorrow morning the moon appears in front of Sagittarius.
This morning farther eastward, brilliant Venus is 9.0° above the east-southeast horizon. The planet rises 97 minutes before sunup, about 10 minutes after the beginning of morning twilight. Until it disappears from the morning sky later this year, it hangs low in the eastern sky before sunrise.
Venus is approaching Jupiter for a proximate conjunction, one that is 0.5° or less, on April 30. This morning, Jupiter is nearly 5° above the horizon and 9.3° to the lower left of Venus.
Mars, marching eastward in Aquarius, is 12.2° to the upper right of Venus and 10.4° to the lower left of Saturn.
The four planets, from Jupiter to Saturn, span 32.1°.
After sunset, speedy Mercury is reaching for its best evening appearance of the year in the northern hemisphere. At forty-five minutes after sunset, the planet is over 8° above the east-northeast. It is higher each evening and closer to the Pleiades star cluster. Mercury passes the cluster at month’s end.
Watch Mercury appear higher and closer to the star cluster each evening.
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