2023, May 23: Venus, Moon, Pollux Gathering


May 23, 2023: The crescent moon is near Venus and Pollux after sundown.  Before sunrise, Jupiter and Saturn are in the eastern sky.

Photo Caption – 2019, January 31: The crescent moon and Venus 15 minutes before sunrise.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:24 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:12 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 23: Saturn and Fomalhaut are in the southeastern sky before sunrise.

An hour before daybreak, Saturn is nearly 25° above the southeast horizon.  It is appearing higher in the eastern sky each morning.

The star Fomalhaut is to the lower right of the Ringed Wonder and near the horizon.

At this time, bright Jupiter is above the horizon in the east-northeast.  It is followed by Mercury, but the speedy planet is lost in the sun’s glare when it climbs high enough in the sky to be seen.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, May 23: The moon is with Venus and Mars in the western sky after nightfall.

This evening the crescent moon, 18% illuminated, is about one-third of the way up in the sky from horizon to overhead at one hour after sundown. It is 5.9° to the upper left of Venus and 2.1° to the lower left of Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins.

Chart Caption – 2023, May 23: Through a binocular, Venus, crescent moon, and Pollux fit into the same field of view.

Venus, the crescent moon, and Pollux snugly fit into a binocular’s field of view.  With earthshine visible to the unassisted eye, the binocular helps see the effect of sunlight reflected from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land on the moon’s night portion.

Photo Caption – 2022, July 30: The crescent moon with earthshine. (Photo by MJB)

Earthshine can be photographed with a tripod-mounted camera and exposures up to a few seconds.

Venus continues its eastward march against Gemini, closing the gap to Mars, 14.4° to the Evening Star’s upper left.

The Red Planet is marching eastward against Cancer’s dim stars. The planet is about the brightness of Castor, the other Twin.

Tomorrow evening, the waxing moon is above Mars.



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