January 31, 2023: Mercury is visible before sunrise in the southeastern sky. Venus, Jupiter and Mars are in the evening sky. The moon is near the Bull’s horns.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:04 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:04 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location. Times are calculated from the U.S. Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot’s transit times, when it is in the center of the planet in the southern hemisphere: 5:16 UT, 15:11 UT; Feb. 1, 1:12 UT. Convert the time to your time zone. In the US, subtract five hours for EST, six hours for CST, and so on. Use a telescope to see the spot. Times are from Sky & Telescope magazine.
Today at month’s end, daylight is 10 hours.
Summaries of Current Sky Events
Here is today’s planet forecast:
Mercury is in the southeastern sky before sunrise. It is bright, but near the horizon, becoming more difficult to see each morning. At 45 minutes before sunup, the solar system’s innermost planet is nearly 6° above the horizon and over 30° to the lower right of Altair that is about 20° up in the east.
With Saturn’s departure from the evening sky, three bright planets are visible simultaneously after sunset. The big show is in the southwestern sky with Venus and Jupiter. The Evening Star is nearly 15° above the west-southwest horizon at 45 minutes after sundown. It is 30° to the lower right of the Jovian Giant.
Venus is stepping eastward faster than Jupiter. Venus overtakes the slower-moving planet on March 1st. From February 20th through March 11th, the two planets are within 10° of each other. This is a slow-moving, but very bright event, centered on conjunction evening.
Farther eastward, the bright moon, 81% illuminated, is over halfway up in the sky above the east-southeast horizon. It is near Taurus’ northern horn, Elnath.
Mars is nearly 10° to the upper right of the lunar orb and 8.2° to the upper left of Aldebaran, Taurus’ brightest star. The Red Planet passed the star last night and its eastward march continues. At 7:12 p.m. CST, Jupiter is nearly 30° above the west-southwest horizon and the Great Red Spot is at the center of the planet in the southern hemisphere through a telescope. Sky watchers farther westward see the planet higher in the sky.
At 7:12 p.m. CST, Jupiter is nearly 30° above the west-southwest horizon and the Great Red Spot is at the center of the planet in the southern hemisphere through a telescope. Sky watchers farther westward see the planet higher in the sky.
2023, July 1: Mercury at Superior Conjunction, Brilliant Venus
July 1, 2023: Mercury begins an evening appearance with superior conjunction at the sun. Brilliant Venus is in an interval of greatest brightness after sundown.Keep reading
2023, June 30: Venus-Mars Quasi-Conjunction, Moon with Antares
June 30, 2023: Venus’ chase of Mars ends this evening with a quasi-conjunction. The bright evening gibbous is near Antares.Keep reading
2023, June 29: Venus Brakes, Scorpion Moon
June 29, 2023: Venus slows as it approaches Mars after sunset. Farther eastward, the bright gibbous moon is with the Scorpion’s head.Keep reading