Difficult Moon, Planet View All Night – When the Curves Align

August 26, 2022: A planetary parade can be seen stretching across the sky overnight. The slender crescent moon provides a stimulating sight before sunrise.

Chart legend – August 26, 2022: Jupiter is in the southwest before sunrise.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, IL: Sunrise, 6:10 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:34 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Here is the planet forecast for today:

morning sky


Three bright morning planets, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, cross the sky before sunrise. At one hour before sunrise, the easiest to locate is Jupiter. It is the bright star that is less than halfway up in the southwest.

The Jovian giant retrogrades in Cetus. The apparent westward motion is an illusion of our faster moving planet overtaking and passing more distant worlds. Earth is between Jupiter and the sun on September 26. As Jupiter retrogrades, it enters Pisces early next month.

Saturn is low in the west-southwest at this time, but the atmosphere near the horizon darkens the planet in much the same way that it makes the sun darker and orange at sunrise or sunset. As long as it is still in the sky with the other bright planets, it is not easily observable. In two mornings, it officially leaves the parade of the four planets, setting as Venus rises. Then, Saturn sets before Venus crosses the horizon. Find the Wonder at the Rings tonight in the southeast after sunset.

Chart legend – 2022, August 26: Before daybreak, Mars marches eastward in Taurus.


Mars, high in the southeastern sky, marches east through the bright star fields of Taurus. This morning it is 6.3° below left of Alcyone, the brightest star in the Pleiades star cluster, and 7.8° above right of Aldebaran, the brightest star. star of the constellation. The red planet passes between these stars in four mornings.

Chart legend – August 26, 2022: Through binoculars, Mars is below the Pleiades and near 37 Tauri (37 Tau).

In binoculars this morning, Mars is 2.7° lower right of 37 Tauri (37 Tau on the map). Tomorrow, Mars passes 2.6° lower right of the star.

The Taurus stars form a bright background for observing the eastward march of Mars. Here is a Taurus star chart to make a low-tech record of the planet’s progress. Chart its place with Taurus every clear night.

At this time, bright Venus is low in the east-northeast. It is visible if the horizon is clear of clouds and no earth obstructions. Look 15 minutes later when it’s higher.

Map Legend – August 26, 2022: Venus, Procyon and Sirius are low in the eastern sky before sunrise.

When Venus is slightly higher, look for Sirius above the east-southeast horizon and Procyon to the east. Procyon is superior to Sirius.

For skywatchers who want a challenge, look for the moon barely there 30 minutes before daybreak. Use Venus as a guide. Place the morning star on the upper right edge of the binoculars field of view, the crescent moon is on the lower right side of the field, a perfect fit.

evening sky

Chart legend – August 26, 2022: Jupiter and Saturn are in the eastern sky two hours after sunset.

Jupiter and Saturn are in the eastern sky at the end of evening twilight. Saturn has moved past its opposition to the sun, appearing low in the east-southeast as darkness falls.

Two hours after sunset, Jupiter is low in the east while Saturn, retrograding in Capricorn, is less than a third of its height in the southeast.

Chart Legend – August 26, 2022: Using binoculars, watch Saturn retrograde relative to the stars in eastern Capricorn.

Saturn’s retrograde is easily observed with binoculars. Tonight, the Ringed Wonder is 1.6° upper right of Nashira and 2.9° lower left of Iota Capricorni (ι Heading on the map). The westward movement is slow, but noticeable. It retrogrades for about two more months, reversing its course by 0.5° from Iota.

Mars rises more than two hours after Jupiter appears in the eastern sky. At this time, Saturn is in the southern sky, while Jupiter is in the southeast. These three planets span 103°. By tomorrow morning, Saturn is again lurking in the thicker atmosphere near the horizon as Venus, Mars and Jupiter hang in the morning sky.


‹ 2022, August 25: Morning Venus, Crescent Moon, Evening Planets
2022, August 27: Mars Treks in Taurus, Evening Planets ›

Categories: Astronomy, Sky observation

Tags: Alcyone, Aldebaran, astronomy, Capricorn, Cetus, Jupiter, Mars, moon, opposition, Planets, Pleiades, Procyon, retrograde movement, Saturn, Sirius, sky observation, Taurus, Venus

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