2023, August 16: Morning Planets, Jupiter, Saturn


August 16: Jupiter and Saturn are visible during morning twilight before daybreak.  Venus races toward its first morning appearance in less than a week.

Photo Caption: 2021, May 13: The crescent moon is 3.2° to the upper left of Mercury.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:00 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:50 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times. Times are calculated by the US Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.

The moon is at the New phase this morning at 4:38 a.m. CDT.

Summaries of Current Sky Events

Here is today’s planet forecast:


Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, August 16: During morning twilight, Saturn is in the southwestern sky near Skat and Lambda Aquarii (λ Aqr).

An hour before sunrise, Saturn is less than 20° up in the southwest.  Approaching opposition, Saturn is retrograding in front of Aquarius, 7.9° to the right of Skat, the Aquarian’s leg, and 7.4° to the lower right of Lambda Aquarii (λ Aqr on the chart).  Saturn and the two stars seem to make nearly an equilateral triangle.

Notice Fomalhaut, the mouth of the Southern Fish, nearly 20° to the lower left of Saturn and 10° above the horizon.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 16: Jupiter is high in the southeast during morning twilight.

At this hour, Jupiter is high in the southeast. Until Venus becomes visible before sunrise, the Jovian Giant is the brightest star in the sky this morning, nearly three times brighter than Sirius.

Jupiter is moving eastward against Aries, 13.2° to the lower left of Hamal, the pattern’s brightest star and 11.3° to the upper left of Menkar, Cetus’ nostril.

The Pleiades star cluster is over 15° to the left of the planet and above the star Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster.

Chart Caption – 2020, September 4: Venus, Sirius, Procyon, and Orion shine from the eastern sky during early morning twilight.

Venus is racing into the morning sky, with its first appearance expected above the eastern horizon during brighter twilight on the 22nd.  By month’s end, it rises nearly two hours before sunrise.  This places five planets in the morning sky, three bright ones – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – and two dimmer worlds – Uranus and Neptune – until October 10th when Saturn sets as Venus rises, a Venus-Saturn opposition.


Evening Sky

Photo Caption – Mercury as Never Seen Before. (NASA photo)

Mercury retreats into brighter sunlight, launching for inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun, on September 6th.

Photo Caption – 2007, December 1: Late winter in the northern hemisphere shows clouds above the northern polar cap and some above the southern cap. (NASA Photo)

Mars is a lost cause for seeing in the evening sky.  It is immersed in twilight and the Red Planet is dim.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 16: Saturn is in the east-southeast, two hours after sunset.

Saturn, rising earlier each evening as opposition approaches, appears above the east-southeast horizon twenty-seven minutes after the sun sets.  By two hours after sundown, it is over 15° above the horizon.

During the night, Saturn appears farther westward, appearing in the southwest tomorrow morning before daybreak.

Jupiter rises less than three hours after Saturn, appearing above the eastern horizon around midnight.  By morning twilight, the Jovian Giant is high in the southeastern sky.

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