2022, May 1: Morning Planets, Evening Crescent, Mercury

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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.

Chart Caption – 2022, May 1: Before sunup, Venus and Jupiter are close together after their proximate conjunction. Mars and Saturn are nearby.

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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.

Morning Sky

SUMMARY OF PLANETS IN 2022 MORNING SKY

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°.

Chart Caption – 2022, May 1: Mercury, the moon, and Pleiades are in the west-northwest after sundown.

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.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2022, May 1: Mercury, the moon, and Pleiades are in the west-northwest after sundown.

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.

Chart Caption – 2022, May 1: Mercury and the Pleiades star cluster appear in a binocular.

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.

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