December 29, 2020: Bright Jupiter is to the upper left of Saturn as night falls. Spot them as night falls. The bright moon is low in the east-northeast. Mars continues its eastward march through Pisces.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:18 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:28 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Jupiter and Saturn appear lower in the southwest as night falls. Now a week after their Great Conjunction, Jupiter is 0.9° to the upper left of Saturn. Both continue to be visible to the unaided eye. Jupiter sets less than 2 hours after sunset. The viewing window narrows from about 45 minutes after sunset for less than 30 minutes before Jupiter is near the southwest horizon.
Farther east, the bright moon is low in the east-northeast.
Use a binocular to spot the starfield around Mars. The moon’s brightness blots out the dimmer stars to the unaided eye.
The Red Planet is marching eastward in Pisces. Find it high in the southeast when the sky darkens. The Red Planet is 1.2° to the lower left of dim Pi Piscium (π Psc on the chart) and 2.8° to the upper right of Omicron Piscium (ο Psc).
Read about Mars during December.
Detailed note: In the evening sky, the Jupiter – Saturn gap continues to grow. This evening it is 0.9°. Jupiter is over 8° up in the southwest about one hour after sunset. The planet is 1.1° to the lower left of σ Cap. Farther east, Mars is less than 55° in altitude above the southeast horizon. It continues its eastward march in front of the stars of Pisces. Use a binocular to see it 1.2° to the lower right of dim π Psc and 2.8° to the upper right of ο Psc. At this hour, the moon is low in the east-northeast, about 16° to the upper right of Castor (α Gem, m = 1.6).
Read more about the planets during December.
April 25, 2021: Mercury passes Evening Star Venus this evening after sunset. Look low in the western sky about 20 minutes after sunset. Mars is marching eastward in Gemini, near the star cluster Messier 35. The bright moon is near Spica.
April 25, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is in front of the stars of Aquarius, while Saturn’s starry background is Capricornus.
April 24, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus and bright Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are low in the west-northwest during evening twilight. The bright moon is in the southeast in Virgo. Mars moves into Gemini as it approaches the star cluster Messier 35.
April 24, 2021: The bright gibbous moon is near a star in Virgo during the early morning. From parts of the Western Hemisphere, the moon covers the star. Before sunrise, bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.
April 23, 2021: Evening Star Venus and Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are found very low in the west-northwest after sunset. The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the early evening. Mars is moving toward the star cluster Messier 35.