June 26, 2022: Morning Star Venus and the lunar crescent are in conjunction this morning in the east-northeast before daybreak. The rare morning planet parade of the five planets is quickly breaking up.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:17 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:30 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The crescent moon, 6% illuminated, passes Morning Star Venus in the east-northeast before sunrise. Begin looking an hour before sunrise or earlier.
Brilliant Venus is over 8° up in the east-northeast. Find a spot with a clear horizon in that direction. A hilltop or an elevated structure may provide a clear view.
The crescent moon is 2.4° to the left of the brilliant planet. The lunar night glows gently from sunlight reflected from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land – earthshine.
The Pleiades star cluster is in the region, 6.7° above Venus. They might be visible to the unaided eye.
Venus, the crescent, and star cluster fit tightly into a binocular’s field of view, if held steadily.
This is an artistic moment – brilliant Venus, a thin crescent with earthshine and the star cluster shining in morning twilight
The next time the triplet is within a binocular’s field of view and visible after sunset or before sunrise is April 21, 2042! On that occasion, they are about 15° above the west-northwest horizon about an hour after sunset. They easily fit into a binocular field, as they fit in a circle about 4° in diameter. The thin crescent moon is to the upper right of Venus, while the cluster is above the Evening Star.
During the interim this triplet is close together every few years. They make dramatic displays, but they are not close enough to fit into a binocular’s field.
The rare morning planet parade peaks with the crescent moon approaching Venus this morning. Begin looking about an hour before sunrise for the string of five bright planets along an arc extending from the east-northeast to the south.
This morning, find the four brightest earlier in your sky watch. Mars and Saturn will fade into brighter morning twilight. Locating them early helps to see them as the morning sky brightens.
At forty-five minutes before sunrise, Mercury is over 4° above the horizon, and nearly 10.6° to the lower left of Venus. Mercury is bright, although a binocular may be needed to initially locate it.
Bright Jupiter, about 40° up in the southeast and in the constellation Cetus, is nearly 60° to the upper right of Venus. Dimmer Mars is 16.7° to the lower left of the Jovian Giant.
Saturn is about one-third of the way up in the south, about 42° to the lower right of Jupiter.
The five planets span about 110° from Mercury to Saturn.
Tomorrow morning the lunar crescent is near Mercury. The moon and Mercury are quickly leaving the morning sky, leaving four bright planets.
The gap from Venus to Saturn continues to grow each morning. They are here each morning until mid-to-late August. On August 28, Venus and Saturn are at opposition. Saturn sets as Venus rises. About a week before this event, Saturn is very low in the west-southwest as Venus rises, making the Ringed Wonder difficult to spot.
The next planet parade where bright five planets are visible simultaneously is December 2022 and again during mid-April 2036. The next time they are in order from the sun is 2100.
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- 2023, October 16-22: Celestial Events for the WeekOctober 16-22, 2023: The moon returns to the evening sky. Venus steps eastward in front of Leo, and a meteor shower is visible.
- 2023, October 15: Three Bright PlanetsOctober 15, 2023: Brilliant Venus and Jupiter are visible before sunrise. Saturn is above the southeast horizon after sundown.
- 2023, October 14: Solar Eclipse, Morning PlanetsOctober 14, 2023: A solar eclipse is visible across the western hemisphere. Brilliant Venus and Jupiter are visible before sunrise.
- 2023, October 13: Moon’s Last Glimpse, Bright Morning PlanetsOctober 13, 2023: Before tomorrow’s eclipse, see a razor-thin moon before sunrise. Venus and Jupiter shine brightly during morning twilight.