Uncommon 5 Planet Show After Sundown – When the Curves Line Up

December 23, 2022: See a uncommon show of the 5 shiny planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars – concurrently after sundown.

Picture Caption – 2020, November 20: Earlier than dawn, shiny Venus is low within the east-southeast, 5.8° to the decrease left of Spica. Mercury is low within the sky.


by Jeffrey L Hunt

Chicago, Illinois: Dawn, 7:16 am CST; Sundown, 4:24pm CST. Examine native sources for dawn and sundown instances to your location.

Daylight has reached the shortest time interval for the 12 months, 9 hours, eight minutes. Newest dawn time (7:18 am CST) begins on the 28th and lasts by means of January 10th.

Jupiter’s Nice Crimson Spot’s transit instances, when it’s within the heart of the planet within the southern hemisphere: 7:46 UT, 17:42 UT; Dec 24, 3:38 SUT. Convert the time to your time zone. Within the US, subtract 5 hours for EST, six hours for CST, and so forth. Use a telescope to see the spot. Occasions are from Sky & Telescope journal.

Right here is right this moment’s planet forecast:

morning sky

Chart Caption – Late December, The Huge Dipper factors the way in which to different stars when it’s excessive within the sky. This morning it helps to establish Leo.

The morning sky is with out a shiny planet. Tomorrow morning at 4:17 am CST, the moon begins lunation 1237. The lunation is the variety of lunar cycles since 1923.

Step exterior about an hour earlier than dawn and look towards the southwest. Leo, together with his shiny star Regulus, is over midway up within the sky. The constellation is featured right here every month when the moon passes these stars.

This morning’s curiosity is the Huge Dipper that’s excessive within the northern sky. Discover on the chart the overhead mark, generally known as the zenith – the best spot within the sky.

When the dipper is excessive within the sky as it’s throughout late autumn and early winter mornings, it helps us find different stars. Its pointer stars on the finish of the bowl direct us to Polaris, the North Star.

Polaris is close by above Earth’s North Pole. On the geographic North Pole, Polaris is almost overhead. As such, it doesn’t appear to maneuver a lot throughout the evening. For informal remark it’s north. From mid-northern latitudes, it’s about midway up within the sky. It’s not the brightest star, however quantity 48 on the listing of the brightest stars seen within the skies of Earth. The star is just not seen south of Earth’s equator.

The curved deal with factors within the route of Arcturus that’s excessive within the southeast.

Leo is in the other way from Polaris. It may be discovered by going by means of the underside of the dipper’s bowl.

Whereas there are not any planets within the morning sky till late January, a number of shiny stars enhance the celestial vault earlier than dawn.

Night Sky

Chart Caption – 2022, December 23: Forty minutes after sunset, 4 of the 5 planets may be seen from southwest to south-southeast.

Through the subsequent 5 evenings, search for a uncommon show of the 5 shiny planets, from the sundown level – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars. The following time 5 planets are within the sky concurrently is mid-April of 2036.

First, discover an open spot that has a transparent horizon within the southwest. A hilltop or elevated construction could enable you see Mercury and Venus close to the horizon.

Second, take a binocular. That is useful to search out Mercury and Venus, and presumably Saturn throughout brighter twilight.

The observing window is slim, lasting not more than half-hour earlier than Venus is simply too low to see. Start searching for Venus and Mercury close to the southwest horizon about half-hour after sunset.

At the moment, Venus is almost 5° above the southwest horizon and to the precise of the southwest route. Venus is way sufficient from the solar to be seen with out a binocular, however use it to initially discover the planet.

Mercury is 4.6° to the higher left of the Night Star and in the identical binocular area when Venus is moved to the decrease proper a part of the view.

Attempt to discover Jupiter about midway up within the south-southeast and Mars within the east-northeast. At this stage of twilight, Saturn is just not doubtless seen.

The readability of the environment is an element. Excessive cirrus clouds or native clouds could make this view a problem. Generally Jupiter and Mars may be seen at the moment interval.

Proceed to search for the planets throughout the subsequent 25 to half-hour. By 40 minutes after sunset, Venus is decrease within the sky with Mercury on the identical distance as earlier than.

Saturn is about 30° up within the south-southwest—that is about one-third of the way in which from the horizon to overhead. It’s the identical distance to the higher left of Mercury.

Chart Caption – 2022, December 23: Forty minutes after sunset, Mars is within the east-northeast close to Aldebaran and Capella.

Jupiter is within the south-southeast – midway up within the sky – and Mars is about 20° above the east-northeast horizon. Capella and Aldebaran are seen close to Mars.

Search for the 5 planets alongside an arc from Venus to Mars. Don’t confuse Saturn with the star Fomalhaut that’s decrease within the sky and almost above the south route.

Tomorrow night, the crescent moon joins Venus and Mercury within the southwest. Two evenings later, the waxing moon is close to Saturn. That can assist with the identification. In the meantime, Mercury remains to be close to Venus, however it’s starting to fade in brightness.

Chart Caption – 2022, December 23: Saturn may be seen by means of a binocular close to Nashira and Deneb Algedi.

Two hours after sundown, take a look at Saturn by means of the binocular to examine its eastward route in comparison with Deneb Algedi and Nashira. The Ringed Marvel is 1.4° to the higher proper of Nashira. The planet passes the star on the evenings of the twenty seventhth and 28th.

Jupiter (NASA Picture)

At 9:38 pm CST, Jupiter’s Nice Crimson Spot is in its prime observing location on the planet, however from Chicago, the planet is simply 20° above the west-southwest horizon, not an excellent spot. Sky watchers with telescopes farther westward can see the planet greater within the sky and in clearer air.



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