January 9, 2021: Mercury makes a pretty triangle with Jupiter and Saturn, nearly 3 weeks after the giant planets’ great conjunction.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:18 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:39 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Speedy Mercury is with Jupiter and Saturn low in the west-southwest at about 30 minutes after sunset. Because of the bright twilight, use a binocular to first locate bright Jupiter. Saturn is 2.2° to the lower right of the Jovian Giant. Mercury, brighter than Saturn and dimmer than Jupiter is 1.6° to the lower left of Saturn and 2.8° below Jupiter.
The planets are setting early; this makes the window small to observe them before they disappear below the horizon.
Detailed Note: Thirty minutes after sunset, Jupiter, about 7° up in the west-southwest is 2.2° to the upper left of Saturn. Use a binocular to locate them, especially Saturn. Mercury (m = −0.9) makes a pretty triangle with Jupiter and Saturn. It is 1.6° to the lower left of Saturn and 2.8° below Jupiter. As the sky darkens further, Mars is nearly 60° up in the south-southeast, 4.3° to the upper left of ο Psc and 6.4° below γ Ari. Read about Mars during January.
Read more about the planets during January.
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.