May 22, 2023: Two bright planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are visible before sunrise, while the crescent moon is near Venus after nightfall.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:25 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:11 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:
An hour before daybreak, bright Jupiter is low in the east-northeast. It appears higher in the sky each morning.
At this hour Saturn, considerably dimmer than Jupiter, is nearly 25° above the southeast horizon. The star Fomalhaut, is nearly 20° to the lower right of Saturn and about 5° up in the sky.
After sundown, a lovely crescent moon, 11% illuminated, is in the west-northwest. It is 5.7° to the lower right of Venus. This is a pretty scene.
Notice earthshine on the night portion of the moon. Sunlight reflected from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land gently illuminates the lunar night. This is similar to bright moonshine illuminating terrestrial features. Near Full moon nights, a nighttime walk is easy without a flashlight.
Venus and the moon fit into the same binocular field of view. The earthshine effect is easy to see with this optical assistance.
The Evening star is stepping eastward against Gemini. The Twins, Castor and Pollux, are above the planet. As the it moves eastward, it brightens during the next month.
Venus continues to close the gap to Mars. This evening the gap is less than 15°.
Mars, about the brightness of Castor, is marching eastward in western Cancer, 9.4° to the upper left of Pollux.
Tomorrow evening the moon is to the upper left of Venus and near Pollux.
- 2023, December 19: A Scorpion Fumble, Moon MidwayDecember 19, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus appears below the Scorpion’s claws. After sundown, the moon is nearly midway from Saturn to Jupiter.
- 2023, December 18: Pinched VenusDecember 18, 2023: Look for Venus between the Scorpion’s claws in the southeast before sunrise. The thick crescent moon is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn.
- 2023, December 17: Celestial PairsDecember 17, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus passes Zubenelgenubi, a planet-star conjunction. After sundown, Saturn and crescent moon are paired, a planet-moon conjunction.
- 2023, December 16: Venus Clawed, Evening Crescent Nears SaturnDecember 16, 2023: Before daybreak, Venus is above the Scorpion’s southern claw. After nightfall, the crescent moon nears Saturn.
- 2023, December 15: Brilliant Morning Star, Evening Lunar CrescentDecember 15, 2023: Before sunrise, brilliant Venus approaches Zubenelgenubi, the Scorpion’s southern claw. The crescent moon returns to the western evening sky.