April 26, 2023: Saturn is visible in the east-southeast before sunrise. Venus, Mars, and the moon are in the evening western sky with Taurus and Gemini.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:54 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:44 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 is in the east-southeast before sunrise. Nearly 15° above the horizon, the Ringed Wonder is becoming easier to see each morning. While not as bright as Venus or Jupiter, it rivals the morning’s brightest stars.
Jupiter is slowly emerging from bright sunlight after its solar conjunction over two weeks ago. This morning it rises twenty minutes before the sun. The predawn sky is too bright to see the Jovian Giant. It first becomes visible next month.
Fading in brightness and appearing low in the sky, speedy Mercury is moving back into bright twilight. It sets about 50 minutes after sundown and loses eight minutes of setting time compared to sunset each evening. The planet is quickly overtaking Earth on an inside track, passing between our world and the sun on May 1st. Its next morning appearance that peaks during late May and early June is very unfavorable for locating the planet. The plane of the solar system has a low tilt with the horizon. Even though the planet rises about an hour before daybreak, it is low in the sky during favorable viewing times.
The sky has three bright solar system bodies in the western sky after nightfall. The thick crescent moon, 42% illuminated, is high in the west-southwest and 4.1° to the upper left of Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins.
The moon reaches First Quarter phase tomorrow at 4:20 p.m. CDT. This evening the moon is bright enough to illuminate the ground and cast shadows. Block the moon with your hand or the edge of a building to see Pollux and its Twin, Castor.
Mars, brighter than Castor, but dimmer than Pollux, is marching eastward against Gemini. This evening it is 8.2° below Pollux. The Red Planet passes the star in a wide conjunction on May 8th.
Venus is “that bright star” in the western sky after sundown. It is stepping eastward against Taurus. This evening the Evening Star is 5.6° below Elnath, the Bull’s northern horn. Venus passes the star on the 30th. It steps into Gemini during the first week of May.
This evening Venus is around 93 million miles from Earth. This distance is the Earth’s average distance from the sun. Venus is overtaking Earth, but not at Mercury’s speedy rate. It passes between Earth and the sun on August 13th.
Tomorrow the moon is in front of Cancer’s dim stars.
- 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.