2023, August 22: Hello, Venus!


August 22, 2023: Venus returns to the morning sky.  Find it low in the east before sunrise.  It rises earlier each morning returning as the bright Morning Star.

Chart Caption – Venus, Regulus, September 20, 2017


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:06 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:41 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times. Times are calculated by the US Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.

 Summaries of Current Sky Events

Summary for Venus as a Morning Star, 2023-24

Here is today’s planet forecast:

Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, August 22: Saturn is in the west-southwest before daybreak.

Saturn, nearing its opposition when Earth passes between the planet and the sun, is low in the south-southwest before sunrise.  It is not as bright as might be expected, but it is brighter than most stars in the sky this morning, even with the bright contingent of stars in the eastern sky that includes Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Rigel.

Saturn is retrograding in front of Aquarius, 8.1° to the lower right of Skat, the leg, and 7.8° to the lower right of Lambda Aquarii (λ Aqr on the chart).  The trio nearly makes an equilateral triangle.  This slow westward illusion continues until November 4th, when the planet resumes its eastward trek.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 22: Jupiter is in the south-southeast during morning twilight.

At this hour, Jupiter is high in the south-southeastern sky.  It moves eastward in front of Aries, 13.4° to the lower left of Hamal, the constellation’s brightest star, and nearly 16° to the lower right of the Pleiades star cluster.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 22: The star Sigma Arietis (σ Ari) imitates Jupiter’s bright moons through a telescope.

The imitation Jovian moon Sigma Arietis (σ Ari) continues its apparent orbit around Jupiter.  In reality the star appears behind the orbital plane of Jupiter’s bright moons.  The planet’s eastward motion past the star creates an illusion that the imitator is part of the satellite system.

This morning through a telescope, Sigma nearly appears between Jupiter and Europa to the west of the planet.  Ganymede, Callisto, and Io are toward the east.  If a binocular is held steadily, the star is visible to the east of much brighter Jupiter.

2020, June 18: The crescent moon and brilliant Venus appear in the sky during twilight. The moon is 12° to the upper right of the Morning Star.

Look for Venus this morning.  It rises forty-nine minutes before the sun.  Fifteen minutes later it is nearly 5° above the eastern horizon, easily visible from an observing spot with a clear horizon. It gains six to eight minutes of rising time each morning, regaining its status as the Morning Star.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, August 21: After sundown, the crescent moon is near Spica in the west-southwest.

Mercury and Mars are east of the sun hidden by evening twilight. The inner-most planet sets about thirty minutes after sundown, followed by Mars about thirty-five minutes later.

The thick crescent moon, 36% illuminated, is in the southwest after sunset.  It is low, over 15° above the horizon, at one hour after sundown.  The moon is bright enough this evening to slightly illuminate the terrestrial landscape and gently cast shadows.

This evening the lunar orb is 3.4° to the lower right of Zubenelgenubi, the Scorpion’s southern claw.  The northern claw, Zubeneschamali, is higher in the sky.  This stellar pair is part of today’s Libra, although they keep their original names.

The Scorpion’s forehead or crown, Dschubba, is nearly 20° to the upper left of the moon.  The moon is over 5° from this star tomorrow evening.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 22: Saturn is in the east-southeast, one hour after sunset.

Saturn, four nights away from opposition, rises only twelve minutes after sunset.  An hour later, when the moon is in the southwest, Saturn is less than 10° above the east-southeast horizon.

Jupiter rises less than three hours after Saturn.  As midnight approaches, Jupiter is low in the east-northeast.  Tomorrow morning it is in the southeast.



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