2023, August 23: Venus in Morning Sky, Evening Moon


August 23, 2023: Venus returns to the sky, joining four other planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.  After sunset, the nearly-half full moon is near Scorpius’ forehead.

2021, October 8: The crescent moon and Venus with Scorpius.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:07 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:39 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times. Times are calculated by the US Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.


Here is today’s planet forecast:

Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, August 23: Jupiter is high in the south-southeast, near Hamal and the Pleiades, before daybreak.

An hour before sunrise, bright Jupiter is high in the south-southeast.  It is moving eastward in front of Aries.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 23: Through a telescope the star Sigma Arietis (σ Ari) is in the same orbital plane of Jupiter’s brightest moons, imitating one them.

Through a telescope at about 80x magnification, Jupiter’s clouds stripes are visible as well as its four brightest moons, known as the Galilean satellites. Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa are east of the planet, while Io is to the west.  Additionally, the star Sigma Arietis (σ Ari on the chart) appears in the same orbital plane with the moons, seemingly adding a fifth bright moon to Jupiter’s menagerie of satellites.

The star is about 480 light years away and merely appears near the moons.  The star seems to be orbiting the planet, but the star is stationary, while Jupiter and moon collection are moving eastward.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 23: Saturn is in the southwestern sky before daybreak.

At this hour Saturn is about 15° above the south-southeast horizon, 8.2° to the lower right of Skat, Aquarius’ leg, and 7.9° to the lower right of Lambda Aquarii (λ Aqr on the chart).  The planet is moving westward or retrograde compared to the starfield.

Chart Caption – Saturn’s retrograde – apparent westward movement compared to the distant stars – is depicted during four and one-half months.

Saturn is nearing opposition and appearing lower in the sky each morning.  Earth is passing between the distant planet and the sun.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 23: Venus is low in the eastern sky at thirty minutes before daybreak.

Venus is appearing higher in the sky each morning.  The Morning Star rises nearly an hour before sunrise.  Thirty minutes later during brighter twilight, when most celestial wonders are hidden in the approaching sunrise, Venus stands nearly 5° up in the east and is visible without an optical assist.

2020, June 15: Venus appears very low in the east-northeast about 25 minutes before sunrise.

One of the techniques I use to find Venus in such conditions is to use either a roof line or side of a structure. I stand in various places and look along the building to see whether Venus appears along or immediately above that edge, such as the in the accompanying photo from Venus’ 2020 apparition. 

2020, June 24: Brilliant Venus is visible in the east-northeast about 25 minutes before sunrise.

The same technique works with utility wires or trees.

Venus gains six to eight minutes of rising time each morning and becomes easier to see in a darker sky.  By month’s end, the planet rises nearly two hours before daybreak, appearing higher in the sky, earlier during twilight. With a morning apparition, five planets are in the morning sky, three bright – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – and two fainter – Uranus and Neptune.

Evening Sky

Mercury and Mars are east of the sun and hiding in bright twilight. Mercury begins the illusion of retrograde against the celestial background as it overtakes our planet on an inside orbital track.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 23: The evening moon is near Dschubba, the Scorpion’s forehead or crown.

This evening the moon, approaching the evening half phase (First Quarter), is nearly 20° above the southwest horizon, at one hour after sunset.  The moon rises during the afternoon, appearing in the south at ninety minutes before nightfall.

The moon is bright enough to gently light up the terrestrial features and cast shadows.  This is a reverse effect of sorts from earthshine.  The sun lights up the moon and that reflected light illuminates Earth’s nighttime.  Earthshine, sunlight reflected from our planet’s oceans, clouds, and land lights up the lunar night.

The lunar orb is 6.8° to the lower right of Dschubba, the Scorpion’s forehead or crown and nearly 15° to the lower right of Antares, representing the heart.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 23: One hour after sundown, Saturn is low in the east-southeast.

Saturn rises only ten minutes after sunset.  Fifty minutes later, it is nearly 10° up in the east-southeast.  It appears in the south around midnight and in the southwest tomorrow morning. Jupiter rises in the eastern sky less than three hours after Saturn.  Find it high in the southern sky before daybreak.



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