June 10, 2022: Today four morning planets shine in the east before sunrise. Today is the earliest sunrise time. The bright evening moon is between Spica and the Scorpion’s pincers.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:15 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:25 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
This morning and through June 19, the sun is at its earliest rising time. This continues through June 19. Daylight is 15 hours, 10 minutes. The latest sunset in Chicago, 8:30 p.m. CDT, occurs June 22 through July 1. These times do not occur on the solstice because Earth’s orbit is not a perfect circle and the planet is tilted nearly 23.5°.
The ecliptic – the plane of the solar system – during predawn hours, extends from the east-northeast horizon into the south at an angle of about 30°. Four bright morning planets are near this imaginary line.
One hour before sunrise, Jupiter is likely the easiest planet to locate first. It is over 25° above the east-southeast horizon, moving eastward in front of the distant stars of Pisces.
Dimmer Mars is 7.0° to the lower left of the Jovian Giant. Mars passed Jupiter on May 29, and it continues to open a gap with the solar system’s largest planet. This morning mars is over 130 million miles away from Earth and Jupiter is nearly four times that distance.
The morning’s showpiece is brilliant Venus, over 7° above the east-northeast horizon. Perhaps it is hiding behind trees or a neighborhood building.
The sun seems to be slowly pulling the Morning Star closer to it. This morning the planet rises over 100 minutes before sunrise.
The star Capella is low in the north-northeast, 40° from Venus. It is visible after sunset in the northwest and before sunrise in this place.
Hamal, the brightest star in Aries, is 13.8° above Venus.
With a binocular, look for the Pleiades star cluster. It is only about 4° above the horizon and over 16° to the lower left of Venus.
With the binocular look for Uranus. During the next few mornings, Venus and the distant world are in the same field of view. This is a challenging view because Uranus is dim and in the glow of morning twilight.
Saturn is the highest in the sky, but it is the dimmest of the bright four planets. Look for it over 30° above the south-southeast horizon. It is retrograding in eastern Capricornus, near Deneb Algedi – meaning “the kid’s tail.”
Look for the star Fomalhaut, to the lower left of Saturn and over 10° above the horizon.
With the binocular look at the starfield near Saturn, including Deneb Algedi and Nashira. During the next several weeks watch Saturn move toward the two stars. On July 30, Saturn makes a nice triangle with them when it is 1.6° from each star.
This morning Saturn is 2.0° from Deneb Algedi and 3.4° from Nashira.
Mercury is slowly joining the morning planet parade. It rises about 50 minutes after Venus and 55 minutes before the sun.
As night falls, the bright gibbous moon, 85% illuminated, is over 30° up in the south. It is 10.0° to the left of Spica.
The Scorpion’s pincers, Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi, today part of Libra, are to the left of the lunar orb. To see the two stars with the moon’s glare, it might be necessary to shield your eyes with your hand as you would with the sun.
The southern pincer, Zubenelgenubi, is 11.7° to the lower left of the moon.
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