April 24, 2023: Saturn is in the east-southeast before sunrise. Venus, Mars, and the crescent moon continue to dance with the stars in evening’s western sky.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:57 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:41 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location. Times are calculated by the U.S. Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.
Summaries of Current Sky Events
Here is today’s planet forecast:
Saturn appears in the east-southeastern sky before sunrise. It rises over two hours before the sun. By forty-five minutes before sunup, it is nearly 15° above the horizon. It is not as bright as Venus or Jupiter, but rivals the morning’s brightest stars.
Jupiter is following Saturn into the morning sky, but it is still rising during bright twilight and not easily visible. This morning it crosses the eastern horizon less than 20 minutes before the sun.
Mercury is exiting the evening sky. It is dim, setting less than an hour after sundown. It is overtaking our planet, but on an orbital pathway that is closer to the sun. The speedy planet passes between Earth and the central star on May 1st.
Venus, Moon, and Mars are still performing in the western sky after sunset. Brilliant Venus is stepping eastward through Taurus and approaching the Bull’s horns. At forty-five minutes after nightfall, the Evening Star is nearly 30° above the horizon and 7.6° below Elnath, the northern horn.
The crescent moon, 24% illuminated, is about halfway up in the sky in the west and over 15° to the upper left of the evening star. This evening the lunar orb appears in western Gemini, near Castor’s foot.
At this hour Mars is over 13° to the upper left of the moon and 9.1° below Pollux. Wait until the end of evening twilight, about 90 minutes after sundown, to see Gemini’s dimmer stars. This is likely the last evening during the waxing phases of this lunation to see Gemini’s fainter stars that outlines two stick figures. In the dimmer starfield, Mars is 3.6° to the lower right of Wasat and 5.5° to the upper left of Mebsuta.
Tomorrow evening, the moon is near Mars and Venus is closer to Elnath.
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- 2023, December 23: Check out Planet Uranus, Pleiades near MoonDecember 23, 2023: Look for the planet Uranus and the Pleiades star cluster through a binocular during nighttime hours.
- 2023, December 22: Mercury at Inferior Conjunction, Bright Jupiter, Gibbous MoonDecember 22, 2023: Mercury is between Earth and Sun, known as inferior conjunction. Jupiter and the gibbous moon are celestial companions during nighttime hours.
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- 2023, December 20: Morning Star, Evening Moon Nears JupiterDecember 20, 2023: Brilliant Venus is in the southeast before daybreak. After nightfall the gibbous moon nears Jupiter in the southeast sky.