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2022, April 25: Pendant Moon, Evening Mercury

2022, February 26: Venus, Mars, and the moon before sunrise in the southeast.

Photo Caption: 2022, February 26: Venus, Mars, and the moon before sunrise in the southeast.

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April 25, 2022:  The crescent moon appears like a pendant on the morning planet necklace made by Jupiter, Morning Star Venus, Mars, and Saturn.  After sundown, Mercury approaches the Pleiades.

Chart Caption – 2022, April 25: The four morning planets and the moon are in the eastern sky before sunrise.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:55 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:43 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Morning Sky

This morning the crescent moon appears as a pendant on the planet necklace in the east-southeast.  Step outside about 45 minutes before sunrise.  The moon, 29% illuminated, is over 10° above the southeastern horizon.  It is below a string of four planets, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn, the morning planet necklace.

The moon is 8.1° to the lower left of Saturn and 8.9° to the lower right of Mars.  The two planets are 13.9° apart. Saturn is slightly brighter than Mars.

Brilliant Venus is about 8° above the east-southeast horizon and over 20° to the lower left of the lunar crescent. 

Bright Jupiter is 5.0° to the lower left of Venus, while Mars is 14.0° to the upper right of Earth’s Twin Planet.

Notice that the four planets are lined up along an arc, the plane of the solar system known as the ecliptic.  They span 32.9° from Jupiter to Saturn. 

Each morning, the moon hops eastward from the previous morning’s location. Venus steps noticeably toward Jupiter from morning to morning.

In five mornings, Venus passes close to Jupiter in what these articles call a proximate conjunction, one where Venus and Jupiter are 0.5° apart or closer.

Chart Caption – 2022, April 25: Venus and Jupiter fit into a binocular field of view.

Both planets easily fit into the same binocular field.  Holding the binocular steady, you might see some of Jupiter’s largest and brightest moons.

Each morning, watch the moon move eastward.  Tomorrow morning, the lunar orb is to the lower left of Mars and to the lower right of Venus.  The Venus – Jupiter gap is smaller than this morning.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2022, April 25: After sundown, Mercury is below the Pleiades in the west-northwest.

Mercury is putting on its best evening show of the year for northern hemisphere observers.  The plane of the solar system is highly-tilted compared to the horizon, allowing earth-bound observers to easily see the speedy planet as it emerges from bright sunlight.

At forty-five minutes after sunset, find Mercury over 10° up in the west-northwest.  It is 4.7° below the Pleiades star cluster.

Chart caption – 2022, April 25: Mercury and the Pleiades star cluster fit into a binocular field of view.

The planet and the cluster fit into the same binocular field.  How many stars can you count in the star cluster?

Each evening watch Mercury close in and pass the stellar bundle.

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