2022, May 30:  Morning Planet Race, Evening Leftovers

May 30, 2022: After yesterday’s conjunction, Mars is east of Jupiter trailing behind Venus.  In the evening four bright stars, leftovers from the winter evening sky are in the western sky.

2022, May 30: The four morning planets are in the eastern sky before sunrise. After yesterday’s conjunction, Mars is east of Jupiter.
Chart Caption – 2022, May 30: The four morning planets are in the eastern sky before sunrise. After yesterday’s conjunction, Mars is east of Jupiter.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:19 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:18 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

The moon reaches its New phase at 6:30 a.m. CDT.  Tomorrow evening look for a thin crescent, low in the west-northwest about 45 minutes after sunset.  Use a binocular to initially spot it.

Morning Sky

SUMMARY OF PLANETS IN 2022 MORNING SKY

Mars is east of Jupiter along the ecliptic, the plane of the solar system, after yesterday’s conjunction.  The pair is still close, only 0.8° apart.  Mars is to the lower left of Jupiter. 

As Mars marches eastward, a gap opens between the two planets. At Mars’ speed, it will not catch Jupiter and pass again until August 14, 2024.

2022, May 30: A close-up look at Mars and Jupiter through a binocular.
Chart Caption – 2022, May 30: A close-up look at Mars and Jupiter through a binocular.

At about 45 minutes before sunrise, bright Jupiter is over 20° above the east-southeast horizon.  Dimmer Mars is immediately to its lower left.  A binocular is helpful to initially identify Mars.

Brilliant Morning Star Venus passed Jupiter on April 30.  For the past month. Venus has opened a substantial gap to Jupiter. This morning it is 28.6° to the lower left of the Jovian Giant.

Two months ago, Venus passed Saturn with Mars nearby.  The slow-moving Saturn is trailing far behind the morning’s brightest star.  Saturn, nearly 30° up in the south-southeast, is 66.9° to the upper left of Venus.

Mercury is slowly emerging from bright morning twilight, but it rises only twenty-three minutes before the sun.

Evening Sky

2022, May 30: Procyon, Pollux, Castor, and Capella are in the western sky during evening twilight.
Chart Caption – 2022, May 30: Procyon, Pollux, Castor, and Capella are in the western sky during evening twilight.

About an hour after sunset, step outside and look to the northwest.  At this season, four bright stars, leftovers from winter’s evenings, are low in the sky.

Procyon, Canis Minor’s brightest star, is about 10° above the west horizon.  Pollux and Castor, the Gemini Twins, are higher in the west, nearly 30° above the horizon. Capella, the brightest in Auriga, is about 15° up in the west-northwest. This star is also visible low in the north-northeast before sunrise.

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