May 31, 2022: Venus and Mars scoot away from Jupiter and Saturn in the eastern morning sky. The razor-thin crescent moon is visible after sundown.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:19 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:19 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Daylight lengthens to 15 hours today at Chicago’s latitude. Potential sunshine is longer than this mark through July 11. By June 22, the length increases only 14 minutes. Then the interval begins to shrink.
Additionally, Taurus’ bright star Aldebaran, is at its solar conjunction today. The star and the sun are south at local noon, not clock-time noon. The star slowly emerges from bright morning twilight later next month.
Brilliant Morning Star Venus and Mars continue their eastward race away from the seemingly stationary Jupiter and Saturn. Earth’s Twin Planet moves eastward at about twice the speed of the Red Planet.
At forty-five minutes before sunrise, brilliant Venus is nearly 10° up in the east. Bright Jupiter is 29.6° to the upper right of Venus. Dimmer Mars is 1.3° to the lower left of Jupiter.
After their conjunction two mornings ago, Mars is marching away from Jupiter.
Look at Jupiter and Mars through a binocular. Dimmer Mars is visible without the optical assistance, but the binocular may help with the initial identification. When held steadily, the binocular may reveal Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s four largest moons, to the upper right of the Jovian Giant. Callisto, another Galilean Satellite, may be visible to the upper right of Ganymede.
Saturn, the slowest of the bright outer planets and 30° up in the south-southeast, is 68.0° to the upper right of Venus. Since their conjunction two months ago, Venus left the Ringed Wonder in its planetary dust. Venus continues to step eastward quickly.
Mercury is emerging from bright sunlight for a display of five bright planets before sunrise next month, along with telescopic Uranus and Neptune, and the classic ninth planet, Pluto.
About 45 minutes after sunset, the thin crescent moon, only 2% illuminated, is over 6° up in the west-northwest. Can you see it without the help of a binocular, although the optical assist may guide the initial identification?
- 2023, October 20: Jupiter’s Double Shadows, Mercury at Superior ConjunctionOctober 20: After midnight, Jupiter’s moons’ shadows dance across the cloud tops. Mercury is at superior conjunction.
- 2023, October 19: Poured Moon, See Planet UranusOctober 19: Sagittarius seems to pour the moon into the sky this evening. Find Uranus with a binocular.
- 2023, October 18: Moon-Antares Conjunction, Bright PlanetsOctober 18, 2023: The moon is near Antares after sunset. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the sky during the nighttime hours.
- 2023, October 17: Scorpion MoonOctober 17, 2023: The crescent moon is with Scorpius during evening twilight. Venus and Jupiter gleam from the predawn sky.
- 2023, October 16: Venus in Starry ConjunctionOctober 16, 2023: Venus passes a star in Leo before sunrise. A crescent moon is low in the western sky during evening twilight.