2022, April 23:  Moon Joins Morning Planets, Evening Mercury

April 23, 2022:  The nearly half moon approaches the four morning planets – Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in the eastern sky.  Mercury is in the west-northwest after sundown.

2022, April 23: The moon and the four morning planets are in the eastern sky before sunrise.
Chart Caption – 2022, April 23: The moon and the four morning planets are in the eastern sky before sunrise.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:58 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:31 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

With the city’s far eastern location in the time zone, the sun rises before 6 a.m. CDT.  The sun rises nearly an hour later in North Platte, Nebraska, at the western edge of the time zone.

Morning Sky

SUMMARY OF PLANETS IN 2022 MORNING SKY

The moon is stepping closer to the morning planets.  Find it over 15° up in the south-southeast at forty-five minutes before sunup. The moon is at its Last Quarter phase this morning.

Brilliant Venus is over 45° to the lower left of the lunar orb and over 8° above the east-southeast horizon.  It is stepping eastward toward Jupiter, 6.8° to the lower left of Earth’s Twin Planet.

2022, April 23: Venus and Jupiter are visible in a binocular’s field of view.
Chart Caption – 2022, April 23: Venus and Jupiter are visible in a binocular’s field of view.

This morning both planets fit into a binocular field.  The gap continues to close until month’s end, when Venus passes about 0.5° from Jupiter.  In these articles, these close passings are called proximate conjunctions. The pair is visible in the same binocular field until May 8.

Mars and Saturn are between Venus and the moon.  The Red Planet is 13.2° to the upper right of Venus, while Saturn is 12.4° to the upper right of Mars.

Mars is marching eastward toward slower-moving Jupiter and overtakes the Jovian Giant on May 29.

Tomorrow morning, the moon is to the lower right of Saturn.

Evening Sky

2022, April 23: Mercury and the Pleiades are in the west-northwest after sunset.
Chart Caption – 2022, April 23: Mercury and the Pleiades are in the west-northwest after sunset.

Mercury is in the west-northwest after sunset, approaching the Pleiades star cluster.  About 45 minutes after sundown, find the speedy planet over 10° above the horizon, and 7.3° to the lower right of the cluster.  Mercury and the Pleiades enter the same binocular field of view tomorrow evening.

Mercury passes the stellar bundle on April 29.  Watch the planet close in on the cluster each evening.

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