July 5, 2022: Venus, one of the four morning planets with Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, is visible with the stars of Taurus. During the evening, the thick crescent moon is with Virgo.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:22 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:29 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
For this morning’s planets, begin in the east-northeast about an hour before sunrise. Brilliant Venus is stepping eastward in Taurus. The Morning star, nearly 9° up in the east-northeast, is 6.3° to the left of Aldebaran. Both easily fit in to the same binocular field.
Notice Elnath – meaning “the one butting with horns” and also known as Beta Tauri – is about the same height in the sky as Venus and 10.4° to the left of the planet. Beta Tauri is the Bull’s northern horn. Venus passes the star on the morning of July 12.
Look for the Pleiades over 15° to the upper right of Venus.
The star Capella is over 20° above the northeast horizon, to the upper left of Venus.
Bright Jupiter is over 40° up in the southeast and nearly 67° to the upper right of Venus. The Jovian Giant is slowly moving eastward in Cetus. It is beginning to slow its eastward motion and begin to retrograde later this month.
Dimmer Mars is marching eastward in Pisces, away from Jupiter. It is about one-third of the way from Jupiter to Venus. The Red Planet is moving toward the Pleiades star cluster. This morning the stellar bunch is to the lower left of the planet. Mars passes the star cluster next month.
The fourth dimmest of the bright morning planets is Saturn. Find it about one-third of the way up in the southern sky. It is among the stars of Capricornus, near Deneb Algedi and Nashira.
It is retrograding, an illusion of the planet moving westward compared to the starry background. Use a binocular to make weekly observations of Saturn’s location with the two background stars. The Ringed Wonder makes a nice triangle with Deneb Algedi and Nashira near month’s end.
From Venus to Saturn, the four planets span over 110°.
The waxing crescent moon, 40% illuminated, is about 30° up in the west-southwest about an hour after sunset. The moon phase continues to grow and brighten. It easily shines on the ground and casts shadows.
The lunar orb is at its half-full phase (First Quarter) tomorrow evening. With the growing moonlight each evening, the dimmer stars are becoming more difficult to see. The moon’s light overwhelms the dimmer stars. In about two weeks, the moon is dim enough to begin to see the fainter stars. Until then a binocular helps locate the stars near the moon.
This evening the moon is with Virgo. It is to the upper left of Zavijava – meaning “the corner of the barking dog.” Porrima – also known as Gamma Virginis – is 8.3° to the upper left of the thick lunar crescent. Spica – meaning “the ear of corn” – is over 20° to the left of the moon.
Notice Corvus the Raven about 15° above the southwest horizon.
January 1, 2023: The Scorpion crawls into the southeastern sky before sunrise. After sunset, four bright planets and gibbous moon are along an arc across the sky.Keep reading
December 31, 2022: Mercury begins to depart the evening sky, leaving four bright planets – Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars on display for New Year’s Eve.Keep reading
December 30, 2022: The night’s brightest star, Sirius, is in the south at midnight as the year ends. The bright planet evening display continues as Mercury disappears into bright twilight.Keep reading