Moon, Mars and Venus, morning of January 29

Moon with Mars and Venus: Round white circle at left, red dot toward middle, crescent shape on right.
Want to catch the moon with Mars and Venus? The brightest planet, Venus, is blazing in the east before sunrise now. And Mars – much fainter, but reddish in color – is there, too. On the morning of January 29, the waning crescent moon will join the scene. 

Moon with Mars and Venus

On the morning of January 29, 2022, the old moon – a waning crescent – will join Venus and Mars. Brilliant Venus, far-dimmer Mars and the glowing crescent moon will form an intriguing and picturesque celestial line-up, low in the east before sunrise. So don’t forget to take a photo and submit it to us! Look for the slender crescent glowing with earthshine in the sunrise direction (east), shortly before the sun comes up. Venus will be bright and unmistakable near the moon. Dim Mars will be harder to spot, but also near the moon. Notice that Mars is glowing dimly reddish.

Here at the end of January 2022, Venus is especially bright! It has passed its inferior conjunction on January 8-9, 2022. That’s when Venus – in its smaller, faster orbit – swept between the Earth and sun. Now Venus is heading toward another greatest brilliancy on February 9, 2022.

The 2022 lunar calendars are here. Order yours before they’re gone!

Why is Venus so bright?

Venus orbits one step inward from Earth. It passed between us and the sun earlier this month. So now the lighted face of Venus (its day side) is still turned mostly away from us now. That means that, from our earthly perspective, Venus appears as a crescent world. But that lighted crescent is relatively large in our sky, because Venus is still relatively nearby. Voilà. Greatest brilliancy.

Chart showing planets in our solar system orbiting the sun, late January and early February 2022.
View larger. | In this space view of our solar system – from 15° north of the ecliptic plane – the planets’ paths are shown for January and February, 2022. Yellow sight-lines from Earth to the other planets are set for late January. The dashed line, with ram’s horns symbol, is the vernal equinox direction or 1st Point of Aries, the baseline for mapping the sky. Chart via Guy Ottewell. Used with permission.

See Venus as a crescent

Aim a pair of well-focused binoculars toward Venus. In January 2022, we on Earth see Venus as a tiny crescent. That’s because it’s nearby and its lighted portion of “day” side is facing mostly away from us.

Black circle with white crescent at center.
In late January 2022, Venus appears as a crescent from Earth. On January 8-9 it underwent inferior conjunction, when it passed between us and the sun. Sharply focused and steadily held binoculars might show you the tiny crescent shape of brilliant Venus in late January’s early morning sky. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

See Venus in daytime

Venus is now bright enough that you might be able to see in the daytime. Check this out for yourself by spotting Venus 30 minutes before sunrise. Follow it in the brightening sky by situating yourself so that it appears placed just above a distant reference object such as a utility pole or a tree. Keep it placed above the reference object as the minutes pass. You’ll still be able to see it after the sun rises. You can keep following it for the rest of the morning.

Three charts showing Venus as a dot rising higher in the lightening sky beside a tree.
View larger. | In late January and early February, 2022, Venus is exceedingly bright. You might spot it in the daytime. The easiest way to do that is to start when it’s still night. Find Venus near the sunrise point in the morning. Be sure to position it near a tree, lamppost, or building in your foreground. Then keep track of it after the sun rises and the sky turns blue. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

Bottom line: See the moon with Mars and Venus on the morning of January 29, when the trio form a line near the southeastern horizon before sunrise.

Read more about how to see the planets.

January 28, 2022

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Deborah Byrd

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