"Tonight's Sky" is written by retired planetarium director Dave Leake and reprinted with his permission. See Dave Leake's "Prairie Skies" column in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette each Monday morning. Dave Leake's preview of 2019 sky events can be found here.
Have you seen Venus in the southwest yet? This week, Venus sets around 6 p.m., over an hour after sunset. Look two fists held at arm's length to the lower right of Jupiter. Keep an eye on the two planets as they'll be much closer next week. Venus appears 90% illuminated in a telescope. At the end of the week, Venus sits above the star Antares, but you'll need binoculars due to the twilight. The planetarium is now running "Santa's Secret Star" on Saturdays at 7 p.m. Bring the kids and learn a little bit about the backyard sky. And here's a sneak preview – a rare transit of Mercury will be visible next Monday! Stay tuned!