June 4, 2022: The four morning planets continue with their planet dance in the east before sunrise. After sundown, the crescent moon, among the stars of Cancer is between Leo and Gemini.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:17 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:22 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The four bright morning planets continue to gleam from the eastern sky during morning twilight. Likely the easiest to find is Jupiter, over 20° up in the east-southeast at one hour before sunup. It is bright and easily spotted.
Dimmer Mars is 3.5° to the lower left of the Jovian Giant. The Red Planet continues its eastward march away from Jupiter, while trailing Venus. The Morning Star, over 7° up in the east, is 30.2° to the lower left of Mars.
Saturn, over 30° up in the south-southeast, is over 72° to the upper right of Venus.
This morning quartet is strung along the ecliptic. They appear to be in a line. From Earth we see Venus far east of Saturn.
If we could view the planets from north of the solar system, the four morning planets are scattered along an angle about 35° across with the sun at the vertex. Jupiter is the farthest eastward and Saturn is on the western side of the angle.
Back home, Venus is the closest planet this morning. It is over 115 million miles away. Mars is about 20 million miles farther away. Jupiter is nearly four times Mars’ distance, while Saturn is over six times farther away than the Red Planet.
Mercury is slowly emerging into the morning sky for a classic nine planet parade later in the month. This morning, the speedy planet rises 39 minutes before daybreak.
As night falls, step outside and look westward. The moon, less than halfway up in the sky and 26% illuminated, is in front of the dim stars of Cancer for another evening. The lunar crescent is 15.3° to the lower right of the star Regulus, meaning “the prince,” and 21.8° to the upper left of Pollux, a Gemini Twin.
Notice the earthshine on the lunar night. Sunlight reflected from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land gently brighten that moon’s night portion.
October 27, 2022: Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars are hung across the sky around midnight. After sundown, the crescent moon is near Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius.Keep reading
October 26, 2022: Three bright planets – Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars are visible overnight. Fomalhaut is in the southeast after sunset during autumn evenings.Keep reading