2023, October 6: Venus Approaches Regulus, Morning Gemini Moon

Photo Caption – 2020, October 5: Venus is 2.9° to the lower left of Regulus and 3.6° to the upper right of Rho Leonis (ρ Leo). Venus is nearly along a line that connects the two stars.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:53 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:24 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times. Times are calculated by the US Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.

At Chicago’s latitude, the sun is in the sky for less than eleven hours, thirty minutes today.  Daylight continues to shrink two to three minutes each day.

Photo Caption – Annular Eclipse 2012

On October 14th, an annular solar eclipse, popularly known as a “ring of fire” eclipse is visible along a path from the American Pacific coast to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Photo Caption – 2012, May 20: Partial solar eclipse.

Other regions see a partial eclipse.

During this eclipse, the moon appears too small to completely cover the sun’s face.  In the path of annularity, a small ring of sunlight surrounds the moon. This can harm vision from a prolonged look.

Photo Caption – Solar eclipse projection

The sun can create permanent eye damage.  On its own, a solar eclipse does not create “eye-damaging rays.” Do not look directly at the sun anytime.

Photo Caption Solar Eclipse projection with binocular

The sun can be projected through binoculars and telescopes.  Similar to an eclipse projector made with a pinhole, an optical instrument can project the sun to a screen for a group to watch the eclipse’s progress.

Photo Caption – Solar projection of an annular eclipse.

Aligning the telescope or tripod-mounted binocular with the sun takes some practice.  Work on this the next sunny day.  A telescope projects a single image of the sun on a screen, while a binocular projects two images of the sun to the screen.  Never look through the telescope or binocular.  The sun’s intensity is greatly amplified.

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, October 6: The moon is with Gemini before daybreak.

Venus and Saturn are nearing their opposition when they are 180° apart in the sky on the 10th.  Saturn is challenging to see when Venus rises three hours, forty-five minutes before the sun.  It appears in the haze near the horizon.  The air near the horizon blurs, reddens, and dims celestial objects.  This greatly affects Saturn’s visibility.  Use a binocular to look for the Ringed Wonder.

The nearly half-full moon (Last Quarter) is high in the southeast an hour before sunrise.  It is 3.2° to the upper left of Mebsuta and 10.1° to the upper right of Castor, one of the Gemini Twins.

Later tonight across the southern region of Africa, the moon occults or eclipses Iota Geminorum (ι Gem on the chart) that is to the right of Castor and Pollux, the other Twin.

Chart Caption – 2023, October 6: Jupiter is in the west-southwest before sunrise.

Bright Jupiter is less than halfway up in the west-southwest at this hour.  It retrogrades in front of Aries, 12.8° to the left of Hamal, the Ram’s brightest star, and 11.2° to the upper right of Menkar, Cetus’ nostril.  Jupiter’s westward motion carries it between the two stars.  Watch it cross an imaginary line between them.

Chart Caption – 2023, October 6: Venus is in the east-southeast before sunrise near Regulus.

In the eastern sky, brilliant Venus is about 30° above the east-southeast horizon, 3.5° to the upper right of Regulus, Leo’s brightest star. Venus passes the star in three mornings.  Watch the gap between them close each morning.

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

Mercury quickly retreats into bright morning twilight after its best predawn appearance of the year.  The planet is bright and low in the sky.  It is less than 5° up in the east at thirty minutes before daybreak.  A binocular’s optical assist is needed to see it, as well as an unobstructed view toward the planet.

Evening Sky

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 not visible, setting about thirty minutes after the sun.

Chart Caption – 2023, October 6: Saturn is in the east-southeast after sunset.

Saturn is in the southeast, nearly 25° above the horizon, during the early evening hours.  It retrogrades in front of Aquarius, 7.3° to the left of Deneb Algedi, the tail of Capricornus.  The planet and the star tightly fit into the same binocular field of view. Saturn’s retrograde ends November 4th, 6.7° from that star.

About four hours after sunset, Saturn is in the south.  Tomorrow morning it is in the haze near the west-southwest horizon as Venus rises.

Jupiter rises seventy-nine minutes after nightfall.  About two hours later, it is nearly 20° up in the east.  As the calendar day ends, the Jovian Giant is nearly halfway up in the east-southeast.  Tomorrow morning it shines from the west-southwest.

The moon rises around five hours after sundown, after midnight in western regions of North American time zones.  Tomorrow morning during twilight, it is high in the east-southeast, near Pollux.


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