2022, December 10: Gemini Moon, nocturnal planets

2023, January 5: Bright Moon, Evening Planets, Orion’s Rigel

January 5, 2023: The bright moon can be seen before sunrise and after sunset. Four bright planets are strung across the sky from southwest to east after sunset. Orion’s Rigel rises at sunset.

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

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, IL: Sunrise, 7:18 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:33 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location. The times are calculated from the MICA computer program of the US Naval Observatory.

Sunrise is at its latest time. This continues throughout the 10e. The duration of daylight increases slowly in January to ten hours at the end of the month.

Transit time of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, when it is in the center of the planet in the southern hemisphere: 3h38 UT, 13:34 UT, 23:29 UT. Convert the time to your time zone. In the US, subtract five hours for EST, six hours for CST, etc. Use a telescope to see the place. The hours are from Sky & Telescope magazine.

Here is today’s planetary forecast:

morning sky

Chart legend – January 5, 2023: The moon is in the west-northwest, at the feet of Gemini, 90 minutes before sunrise.

At 90 minutes before sunrise, the bright moon, 98% illuminated, is less than 10° above the west-northwest horizon. She is at the feet of Castor and Pollux, the Gemini twins. The moon is nearly 25° lower right of the Twin stars.

evening sky

Chart legend – 5 January 2023: Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are visible after sunset.

Four bright planets – Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn – hold a nocturnal display. Forty-five minutes after sunset, bright Venus is more than 5° to the southwest. Find a clear horizon by looking towards the location of the planet. An elevated or hilltop structure provides a view of ground obstacles.

Venus is advancing rapidly towards the East. Last month, Mercury joined Venus, but it leaves the evening sky for an early morning appearance later in the month. Venus heads toward Saturn, closing the gap by about a degree each night. Tonight, Venus is less than 20° lower right of the Saturn dimmer. Venus passes in front of the Ringed Wonder on the 22ndn/a.

After Saturn’s conjunction, Venus moves rapidly towards Jupiter, passing it on March 1st. The two bright planets have been within 10° of each other since February 20e until March 11e. This separation is roughly the distance between the knuckle of the thumb and the knuckle of the little finger when your fist is extended at arm’s length. The Jovian Giant is halfway up in the south at this time.

Chart legend – 5 January 2023: Mars and the Moon are accompanied by bright stars in the eastern sky. Orion’s Rigel rises at sunset

Further east, the bright moon, 99% illuminated, is less than 20° east-northeast. The full moon phase occurs tomorrow at 5:08 p.m. CST.

Castor and Pollux, the Gemini twins, are more than 15° lower left of the lunar orb, while Capella is more than 20° upper left of the moon.

Chart legend – The opposition of Mars, 2022. This chart shows the movement of Mars against Tauris from August 16, 2022 to March 30, 2023.

Mars, brighter than all the other stars in this part of the sky, is nearly 40° above the eastern cardinal point. It continues to retrograde ahead of Taurus for another week. Tonight, it’s 8.5° above to the left of Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation.

Orion makes his first early evening appearances this season. It is near the horizon, slightly south (right) of the easterly direction. Tonight Rigel, the knee of Orion, rises at sunset.

Photo caption – This view of Jupiter taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, taken on June 27, 2019, reveals the giant planet’s Great Red Spot and a more intense color palette in the clouds swirling in the turbulent atmosphere of Jupiter than that of previous years. The colors and their changes provide important clues to the processes taking place in Jupiter’s atmosphere.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot takes center stage through a telescope at 5:29 p.m. CST. This occurs during evening twilight and is several minutes later than chart times. The planet is halfway up in the southern sky. Skywatchers further east see the planet lower in darker skies, but high enough for good views.

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