June 7, 2022: The gap between the four bright morning planets continues to widen in the eastern predawn sky. During the evening, the moon is in western Virgo.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:16 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:24 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The moon reaches its First Quarter phase at 9:48 a.m. CDT, rising in the region nearly three hours later. Find it in the south at sundown.
Twilight continues to lengthen. It’s about 4 hours, 20 minutes total for morning and evening twilight.
Four bright morning gems are scattered along an imaginary diagonal line in the eastern sky before sunrise. Likely, Jupiter is the easiest to locate. Find it nearly 25° up in the east-southeast.
Mars, 5.3° to the lower left of Jupiter, continues to march away from the Jovian Giant. The Red Planet is dimmer, but easily spotted.
Brilliant Venus, 7° up in the east-northeast, is 36.8° to the lower left of Jupiter.
Saturn, the dimmer of the four morning planets, is the highest planet, over 30° above the south-southeast horizon.
The diagonal line is the plane of the solar system – the ecliptic.
The gap between Venus and Saturn continues to open. This morning the separation is 76.2°.
Mercury is emerging from bright twilight into the morning sky to a display of the five bright planets. This morning, it rises 48 minutes before the sun.
The impending morning’s display is unique because starting from the sun, the five bright planets are lined up along the ecliptic in order – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
Each evening the moon continues to wax – grow in phase – and appear farther eastward during the early evening hours, making it set later each night.
This evening the bright moon, 55%, is over halfway up in the south-southwest in western Virgo. This evening, the lunar orb is 8.4° to the lower left of Denebola – meaning “the lion’s tail” – and 5.5° to the upper right of Zavijava – meaning “the corner of the barking dog” – in Virgo.
The moon is approaching Porrima and Spica, farther eastward along the moon’s path, during the next few evenings.
- 2023, October 23: Venus at Greatest ElongationOctober 23, 2023: Venus moves to its farthest angular distance from the sun today, known as greatest elongation. During morning twilight, the Morning Star passes Leo’s Chertan.
- 2023, October 22: Moon Approaches SaturnOctober 22, 2023: During evening hours, the gibbous moon nears Saturn in the southern sky. Venus and Jupiter are visible during morning twilight.
- 2023, October 21: Three Bright Planets, First Quarter MoonOctober 21, 2023: Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are easy to locate during nighttime hours. The First Quarter moon phase occurs this evening.
- 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.