2023, July 25: Bright Morning Planets, Venus Rushes, Evening Moon


July 25, 2023: Jupiter and Saturn are visible during morning twilight. Venus rushes toward inferior conjunction.  The First Quarter moon is in the southwest as night falls.

Photo caption – 2019, November 25: Venus is one day past its conjunction with Jupiter.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:38 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:16 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, July 25: Jupiter is in the eastern sky below Hamal and near the Pleiades star cluster.

Look for Jupiter in the east-southeast before sunrise.  An hour before the sun rises, it is half way up in the east-southeast. It is the brightest “star” in the sky this morning. 

Jupiter is slowly moving eastward in front of Aries, 12.2° below Hamal, the constellation’s bright star, that is about the brightness of the Big Dipper’s stars.  The Jovian Giant is about midway from Hamal to Menkar, Cetus’ nostril.

With a binocular look at the Pleiades star cluster, resembling a tiny dipper, over 18° to Jupiter’s lower left.  Count the stars that you see in that cluster.

The Hyades cluster, below with the Pleiades, with Aldebaran, make a sideways letter “V,” outlining Taurus’ head.

Chart Caption – 2023, July 25: Saturn is retrograding in front of Aquarius, near Skat and Lambda Aquarii (λ Aqr).

Saturn, noticeably dimmer than Jupiter, is farther westward, over 30° up in the south-southwest. The Ringed Wonder is the slowest-moving of the five bright planets.  From night to night, its changes against the starry background are not as obvious as the four other visible planets.  Use a binocular to see it against Aquarius’ dim stars, 7.2° to the upper right of Skat, meaning the leg, and 5.9° to the lower right of Lambda Aquarii (λ Aqr on the chart).

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, July 25: Brilliant Venus is near Mercury and Regulus during bright twilight.

The evening planet shuffle is disappearing into bright twilight in the western sky after nightfall.  Brilliant Venus can be found low in the sky shortly after sundown.  Its visual intensity pierces the bright blush of early evening twilight. 

Venus sets fifty minutes after the sun, eighteen minutes before Mercury.  Venus and Mercury are in the same binocular field. Mercury is still reasonably bright, but it is fading in visual intensity. The star Regulus is there as well, but likely washed out by the solar glare.

Chart Caption – 2023, July 25: A binocular view during bright twilight.

At thirty minutes after nightfall, Venus is less than 10° above the horizon with Mercury 5.5° to the upper right and Regulus, if visible, 4.9° above the brilliant planet.  A binocular is needed to see the scene. It is a challenging view.

Venus is retrograding and overtaking Earth, passing by on August 13th.  Follow it into bright twilight until a few days before its inferior conjunction.

Mars, dimmer than Mercury and Regulus, is over 12° to the upper left of Venus.  It does not fit into the same binocular field with the brighter planets, and like Regulus, is washed out by this level of twilight.  The Red Planet sets one hundred, four minutes after the sun.  By forty-five minutes after the sun sets, it is less than 10° up in the west and likely visible with a binocular.

Chart Caption – 2023, July 25: The moon is between Spica and Zubenelgenubi.

As the sky darkens, the moon, a few hours after the official first quarter phase, is in the southwest.  The lunar orb rises in the afternoon about seven hours before sunset.  This evening it is about midway from Spica – Virgo’s brightest star – Zubenelgenubi – the Scorpion’s southern claw.

As the moon waxes toward the full phase, dimmer stars are not easily seen from the moonlight.  This evening, it casts your shadow, continuing for the next two weeks.

Chart Caption – 2023, July 25: Saturn is in the east-southeast during the night.

Saturn rises ninety minutes after night falls.  By three hours after sundown, it is nearly 15° above the east-southeast horizon.  It crosses the south direction over two hours before daybreak, appearing in the south-southwest during morning twilight.



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