2023, May 14: Morning Saturn, Moon, Evening Planets


May 14, 2023: Saturn and the moon appear in the southeast before sunrise.  Venus and Mars are in front of Gemini after nightfall.

Photo Caption – 2021, May 12: Venus, the crescent moon, and Mercury are in the west-northwest after sunset.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:32 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:03 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:

Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, May 14: Saturn and the moon are in the southeastern sky after sundown.

The crescent moon, 30% illuminated, stands less than 15° above the east-southeastern horizon an hour before the sun rises.  It is over 10° to the lower left of Saturn.

Photo Caption – 2022, September 23: Crescent moon with earthshine.

Begin looking for earthshine on the night portion of the moon.  This is reflected sunlight from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land that gently illuminates the lunar night.  The effect increases during the next few mornings.

Saturn has emerged from bright sunlight after its solar conjunction on February 16th.  It is not exceptionally bright like Venus and Jupiter, but it ranks among the brightest stars in the sky this morning.

Jupiter is emerging from the sun’s glare after its conjunction with the sun about a month ago.  It becomes visible sooner than Saturn because it is nearly twenty times brighter than the Ringed Wonder.  By thirty minutes before daybreak, the Jovian Giant is nearly 5° above the eastern horizon, over 40° to the lower left of the moon.

Theoretically, Jupiter is visible to the unaided eye, although a binocular is helpful to find it.  On the morning of the 17th, Jupiter and the razor-thin crescent moon are very low in the eastern sky.  Begin looking for them at 45 minutes before sunrise when the pair is about 5° above the horizon.

Mercury is speeding into the morning sky for an unfavorable appearance.  Early next month the planet rises about an hour before sunrise and is difficult to locate as daybreak approaches.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – Venus moves in front of Gemini, May 7-June 2, 2023.

Brilliant Venus gleams in the western sky after nightfall.  The planet is at least ten times brighter than Sirius, the brightest nighttime star.

Chart Caption – 2023, May 14: Through a binocular, Venus appears with the star cluster Messier 35.

Venus steps eastward in front of Gemini.  Through a binocular, the planet appears in the same binocular field of view as the star cluster Messier 35 (M 35 on the chart). Place Venus near the top of the field and the star cluster appears near the bottom.  This is the last evening that the two fit into the same field of view until July and August 2025.  The planet is 2.2° to the lower right of Mebsuta, also known as Epsilon Geminorum (ε Gem).

Chart Caption – 2023, May 14: Near the end of evening twilight, Venus can be seen against the two side-by-side stick figures that make Gemini.

Mars, marching eastward to the lower left of Pollux, is over 15° to the upper left of Venus.  The planet is fading in brightness, dimmer than Pollux and about the same visual intensity as Castor. During the next few evenings, watch Mars pass an imaginary line that begins at Castor and extends through Pollux.  The Red Planet is on that line in two evenings.

Mars is visible with Castor and Pollux during twilight.  Wait until the sky is darker to see the dimmer stars that outline two side-by-side stick figures.  This is also a favorable opportunity to look at Venus and the star cluster again.



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