August 3, 2023: The moon passes Saturn before daybreak. Bright Jupiter shines from the southeast during morning twilight.
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by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:46 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:07 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times.
Summaries of Current Sky Events
SUMMARY FOR VENUS AS AN EVENING STAR
Here is today’s planet forecast:
Saturn, nearing its opposition later this month, is low in the southwest during morning twilight, 3.5° to the upper right of the bright gibbous moon that is 96% illuminated. This follows their nearly all-night westward cruise.
The Ringed Wonder is retrograding, appearing to move westward against the background stars, in front of Aquarius, but the pattern’s stars are largely washed out by the bright moonlight.
Look for Fomalhaut, the mouth of the Southern Fish, over 15° to the lower left of the lunar orb.
At this hour, bright Jupiter is over halfway up in the southeast before daybreak. It is moving eastward in front of Aries, 12.8° to the lower left of Hamal, the constellation’s brightest star, and 11.4° to the upper left of Menkar, Cetus’ nostril.
Jupiter first appears above the eastern horizon about six hours before the sun rises. At 2:28 a.m. CDT, when Jupiter is 30° up, the Great Red Spot, is at the center of the planet in the southern hemisphere through a telescope.
Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in bright twilight after sunset. Brilliant Venus is nearing inferior conjunction, August 13th, when it passes between Earth and Sun and moves into the morning sky.
Mercury nears its greatest elongation, setting sixty-four minutes after sundown. The planet is dimming each evening. Thirty minutes after sunset, it is less than 6° above the western horizon.
Mars is completely washed out by the sun’s lingering light. While it sets about ninety minutes after nightfall, it is dim and essentially invisible for conventional viewing.
Saturn rises about an hour after sunset, followed by the moon, 91% illuminated, about thirty-five minutes later. During the night as they seem to move westward, from Earth’s rotation, the moon slowly moves eastward against the starry background opening a larger gap to the Ringed Wonder.
- 2023, October 21: Three Bright Planets, First Quarter MoonOctober 21, 2023: Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are easy to locate during nighttime hours. The First Quarter moon phase occurs this evening.
- 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.