May 1, 2022: Venus is close to Jupiter in the eastern sky this morning with Mars and Saturn nearby. The crescent moon re-enters the evening sky below speedy Mercury.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:47 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:49 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Today is May Day. Traditionally, it was a celebration of spring. Festivities included dancing, eating, and the sharing of May baskets, small baskets of flowers or sweets that were shared anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.
One day after their proximate conjunction, brilliant Venus is 0.6° to the lower left of Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise. Forty-five minutes before sunup, find the Morning Star over 8° up in the east, with bright Jupiter to its immediate upper right.
Venus quickly moves away from Jupiter and begins to quickly lengthen the distance between the four morning planet gems. The Venus to Saturn gap opens to 34.3° this morning. Within several days, the morning planet necklace will no longer fit into the typical scale of the charts in these articles.
Mars is 15.7° to the upper right of Jupiter. The focus turns to the Red Planet as it closes in on Jupiter for a conjunction at month’s end.
The Mars – Saturn distance is 18.0°.
Venus and Jupiter easily fit into the field of view of a binocular. Watch Venus move eastward and away from Jupiter during the next several mornings.
The crescent moon re-enters the evening sky below speedy Mercury. Begin looking for the lunar crescent that is only 1% illuminated and low in the west-northwest about 35 minutes after sunset. A binocular is helpful to initially locate the very skinny moon. The moon is 7.7° below Mercury.
Mercury is starting to retreat into brighter evening twilight, setting 3-4 minutes earlier compared to sundown. At forty-five minutes after sunset, Mercury is over 10° up in the west-northwest. At this hour the moon is only 3° above the horizon and setting soon.
Mercury is 2.0° to the upper left of the Pleiades star cluster. Both continue to fit into a binocular’s field of view.
Look for the Hyades star cluster and Aldebaran through the binocular. Together they make the head of Taurus.
Tomorrow evening the moon is to the upper left of Mercury.
- 2023, December 19: A Scorpion Fumble, Moon MidwayDecember 19, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus appears below the Scorpion’s claws. After sundown, the moon is nearly midway from Saturn to Jupiter.
- 2023, December 18: Pinched VenusDecember 18, 2023: Look for Venus between the Scorpion’s claws in the southeast before sunrise. The thick crescent moon is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn.
- 2023, December 17: Celestial PairsDecember 17, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus passes Zubenelgenubi, a planet-star conjunction. After sundown, Saturn and crescent moon are paired, a planet-moon conjunction.
- 2023, December 16: Venus Clawed, Evening Crescent Nears SaturnDecember 16, 2023: Before daybreak, Venus is above the Scorpion’s southern claw. After nightfall, the crescent moon nears Saturn.
- 2023, December 15: Brilliant Morning Star, Evening Lunar CrescentDecember 15, 2023: Before sunrise, brilliant Venus approaches Zubenelgenubi, the Scorpion’s southern claw. The crescent moon returns to the western evening sky.