2022, September 20: Morning Earthshine, Bright Planet Displays


September 20, 2022: Before sunrise, the crescent moon – showing earthshine – is over halfway up in the east below Pollux.  Mars and Jupiter are easily found before sunrise.  Jupiter and Saturn appear in the early evening sky.

Chart Caption – 2022, September 20: The crescent moon is below Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:36 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:51 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Here is today’s planet forecast

Morning Sky


An hour before sunrise, the crescent moon, 27% illuminated and over halfway up in the east, is 2.9° below Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins.

Photo Caption – 2020, December 10: The moon with earthshine is to the upper left of Spica.

Look for earthshine on the night portion of the moon.  This is reflected sunlight from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land, gently illuminating the lunar night.  The view is accented through a binocular or spotting scope.

Chart Caption – 2022, September 20: Mars is between the “V” of Taurus and the Bull’s horns, Elnath and Zeta Tauri.


Mars is higher in the sky, to the upper right of the lunar crescent. The Red Planet continues its eastward march in front of Taurus.  This morning it is about midway from the “V” of Taurus, outlined by Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster, and the Bull’s horns – Elnath and Zeta Tauri.

Chart Caption – 2022, September 20: Through a binocular, Mars is near Iota Tauri (ι Tau).

Through a binocular, the planet is moving toward Iota Tauri (ι Tau on the chart).

The eastward trek continues until October 30th when Mars seems to reverse its direction and begin to retrograde – move westward compared to the starry background.

At this hour bright Jupiter is low in the west-southwest.

Venus rises 42 minutes before sunrise.  It is slipping into bright twilight as it moves toward its superior conjunction beyond the sun on October 22nd.  It emerges from bright twilight in the western evening sky.  On December 10th, it sets 45 minutes after sundown, although it can be seen as early November, low in the west-southwest about 15 minutes after sunset.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2022, September 20: After sundown, Jupiter and Saturn are in the eastern sky.

Less than a week before its opposition with the sun, Jupiter is low in the east as night falls.  At opposition Earth is between the planet and the sun.  The planet is near its closest to Earth and at its brightest in our sky.  For the Jovian Giant, only the sun, the moon, and Venus are regularly brighter.  On occasions, Mars outshines it.

An hour after sunset, Jupiter is low in the eastern sky while Saturn is higher in the southeast.

The bright planets are moving to the evening sky.  Mars follows the giant planets as early evening visitors later in the year.  Tonight, Mars follows Jupiter across the horizon over three hours after sundown.  At its opposition on December 7th, the Red Planet rises at sunset.  An hour later, the bright outer planets – Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn – line up along an arc across the sky.  This evening night owls and very early risers can see that arc after midnight, about 5 hours before sunrise; that’s about 1:30 a.m. CDT in Chicago.



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