2023, October 9:  Venus-Regulus Conjunction, Morning Crescent Moon

Photo Caption – Venus, October 26, 2017


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:56 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:19 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times. Times are calculated by the US Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.

Photo Caption – Annular Eclipse 2012

The moon’s shadow races across the western hemisphere on October 14th.  Sky watchers along a track from Oregon to the Gulf of Mexico and again at the Yucatan Peninsula see an annular or ring eclipse, popularly called a “ring of fire.”

The moon does not appear large enough to cover the sun and a ring or annulus of the sun surrounds the moon.

Chart Caption – 2023, October 14: At maximum eclipse (9:30 a.m. MST), the moon covers 85% of the sun at Flagstaff, Arizona.

Sky watchers outside the eclipse experience a partial eclipse.  From Flagstaff, Arizona, 85% of the sun is covered at 9:30 a.m. MST.

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 9: Venus, crescent moon, and Regulus are in the eastern sky at one hour before sunrise.

Step outside an hour before sunrise, brilliant Venus, the crescent moon, and Regulus are in the eastern sky.  This morning Venus passes Regulus.  They are 2.3° apart.  Venus is to the lower right of the star.

Each morning hereafter the gap between them grows.  This morning, the crescent moon, 23% illuminated, is 13.7° to the upper left of the Morning Star.

Photo Caption – 2022, September 23: Crescent moon with earthshine.

Look for earthshine between the moon’s cusps or horns.  This is from sunlight reflecting from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land.

Tomorrow morning the moon gathers with Venus and Regulus in a pretty display that snugly fits into the same binocular field of view.

Regulus is the brightest star in Leo – a westward-facing Lion.  The head is made by the Sickle of Leo that has the appearance of a backwards question mark.  The haunches and tail, named Denebola, are made by a triangle to the lower left of the sickle.

Venus is nearing the dates when it has the largest interval of rising time compared to sunrise.  This morning it rises three hours, forty-eight minutes before the sun.  By month’s end it gains another eight minutes of rising time and sustains this rising interval through November 6th.

Chart Caption – 2023, October 9: Jupiter is in the west-southwest during morning twilight.

Farther westward, bright Jupiter is less than halfway up in the west-southwest sky.  The bright planet continues to retrograde in front of Aries, 12.7° to the left of Hamal, the Ram’s brightest star, and 11.2° to the upper right of Menkar.  Notice the Pleiades, less than 20° above the Jovian Giant.

Mercury retreats into bright morning twilight, rising only forty-two minutes before the sun.  It is very bright, but awash in bright predawn twilight when it would be visible higher above the eastern horizon.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, October 9: At one hour after sundown, Saturn is in the southeast, near Deneb Algedi.

Mars is not visible, setting about thirty minutes after the sun.

One hour after sundown, Saturn is over 25° above the southeast horizon. It retrogrades in Aquarius, 7.2° to the left of Deneb Algedi, Capricornus’ tail.

Look for Fomalhaut, the mouth of the Southern Fish, over 5° above the horizon and 20° below Saturn.

As the wheel of night turns westward, Saturn is south less than four hours after sundown.  Tomorrow, the planet sets as Venus rises.  They are at opposition.  After tomorrow, Saturn sets before Venus rises.

The current planet-to-planet opposition has been hampered by haze at the horizon.  Because Saturn is not exceptionally bright, like Venus or Jupiter, the planet is blurred, reddened, and dimmed before it sets. This effect can be seen easily with the sun and moon.

Jupiter rises seventy-two minutes after the sun. By three hours after nightfall, it is 20° up in the east.  As the calendar day ends, it is halfway up in the east-southeast.  Tomorrow, during morning twilight, it is in the west-southwest.



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