September 5, 2022: Venus passes the star Regulus, during bright morning twilight. The conjunction’s separation is slightly larger than the moon’s diameter.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Venus passes Regulus this morning in the east-northeastern sky. Venus rises only 66 minutes before sunrise. It is low in the sky as sunrise approaches.
By 35 minutes before sunup, the Morning Star is over 5° above the horizon. Even at this level of twilight, the planet can be spotted without a binocular, but an optical assist is needed to see the star. Look for the pair as soon as Venus becomes visible.
It is important to find a clear horizon looking toward the east-northeast to see the conjunction. An elevated structure or a hilltop will help with seeing over any obstructions.
Regulus is the brightest star that is closest to the plane of the solar system, called the ecliptic. The moon and bright planets are frequently paired with the star.
Venus passes Regulus about every year. Here are some notes for future conjunctions:
Generally, conjunctions occurring in September or October occur in the eastern sky before sunrise. Those in July occur in the evening sky after sunset. Conjunctions during August occur during the daytime when Regulus cannot be seen with conventional viewing techniques. The notes are for longitudes near Chicago, Illinois.
- October 9, 2023: In the morning sky, Venus is about 30° up in the east-southeast, at one hour before sunrise, 2.3° to the lower right of Regulus.
- August 4, 2024: Like the 2022 conjunction, the pair is low in the sky, except this occurs in the west-northwest after sunset. The gap is 1.0°.
- September 19, 2025: This is a do-not-miss event. One hour before sunrise, the crescent moon, Venus, and Regulus are nearly in a line about 15° above the east-northeast horizon. The gathering fits into a circle that is only 1° across! The crescent moon is only 5% illuminated with a beautiful display of earthshine.
- July 9, 2026: One hour after sunset, Venus and Regulus are about 15° above the western horizon. Venus is 1.0° to the upper right of the star.
- August 20, 2027: The conjunction occurs near the sun during the daytime.
- October 2, 2028: An hour before sunrise, the pair is over 25° up in the east. Venus is 0.2° to the upper right of the star.
- July 21, 2029: An hour after sunset, Venus is about 5° up in the west-northwest, 1.2° above Regulus.
- September 4, 2030. The 2022 Venus-Regulus conjunction is repeated although the gap is 0.9°. Venus’ appearances repeat every eight years within a day or two.
This morning, look for the brilliant Morning Star and the brightest star in Leo.
- 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.
- 2023, October 18: Moon-Antares Conjunction, Bright PlanetsOctober 18, 2023: The moon is near Antares after sunset. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the sky during the nighttime hours.
- 2023, October 17: Scorpion MoonOctober 17, 2023: The crescent moon is with Scorpius during evening twilight. Venus and Jupiter gleam from the predawn sky.
- 2023, October 16: Venus in Starry ConjunctionOctober 16, 2023: Venus passes a star in Leo before sunrise. A crescent moon is low in the western sky during evening twilight.