October 16, 2022: The bright morning moon is in front of the Gemini Twins and near Mars. After sundown Jupiter and Saturn gleam in the eastern evening sky.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:04 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:08 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Arcturus is nearing its first morning appearance before sunrise in the east-northeastern sky. Look for the Big Dipper, standing on its handle in the northeast. The curve of its handle points toward Arcturus.
Here is today’s planet forecast:
Before sunrise, the bright moon, 62% illuminated, is high in the southern sky, in front of Gemini’s stars. The lunar orb is to the lower right of Castor and Pollux, the Twins. It is over 15° to the upper left of Mars.
The star pattern commemorates mythological characters. The star pattern resembles two stick figures with arms around the other’s shoulders. It is to the upper left of Taurus and above Orion.
The bright moon washes out many of the bright stars. Most of the stars displayed on the accompanying chart are not easily visible with the bright moonlight. They are shown to place the moon and Mars in front of the sidereal background.
Mars slows its eastward march in Taurus. This morning it is 2.2° to the upper right of Zeta Tauri, the Bull’s southern horn. Tomorrow, it passes between the horns. The northern horn is Elnath.
This is the first passage of Mars between the horns during this appearance of the Red Planet. After Mars begins to retrograde on October 30th, it passes between them again on November 13th. After Mars reverts to its eastward or direct motion during January 2023, it passes between the horns for a third time on March 11th.
A little later, around mid-twilight, Mercury is quickly departing the morning sky. It rises later each morning. It is brighter than Mars, but lower in the sky at the same time each morning. Looking a little later each day, places it higher in the sky, but in brighter twilight. At about 40 minutes before sunup, the planet is nearly 6° up in the east. Use a binocular to initially find it.
Venus is hidden in bright sunlight, rising only nine minutes before dawn. It reaches its superior conjunction in about a week.
Jupiter and Saturn continue to dominate the early evening sky. Jupiter is in the east-southeast as the sky darkens. It shines against Pisces, its sidereal backdrop. It is retrograding in front of a very dim background.
The Jovian Giant is the brightest star in the sky, especially with Venus immersed in bright sunlight. Jupiter is in the south around midnight. It sets nearly two hours before sunup.
Saturn, dimmer than Jupiter, is about one-third of the way up in the south-southeast. It is retrograding for about another week in front of Capricornus – near the stars Deneb Algedi and Nashira. After it begins its direct or eastward trek again, watch it close the gap to the two stars.
At this hour, look for Antares – the rival of Mars, that marks the heart of Scorpius, low in the southwest. It is making its last stand of the season. It soon disappears into evening twilight. Start looking a little earlier each evening when it is higher, but the sky is slightly brighter. After sunset on the 27th, the crescent moon appears about 3.5° from the star. Antares sets at sundown during late November. On December 2, the sun appears in front of the star, consequently Antares is in the sky during the daytime. By early in the new year, the star is in the southeastern sky before sunrise.
During the night three bright planets – Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, known here as the bright outer planets (BOPs) – are arched across the sky with the moon. Look for them around midnight.
January 6, 2023: The bright Full moon appears near Castor and Pollux all night. Four bright planets – Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars – span the sky after sundown.Keep reading
January 5, 2023: The bright moon can be seen before sunrise and after sunset. Four bright planets are strung across the sky from southwest to east after sundown. Orion’s Rigel rises at sundown.Keep reading