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.
- 2023, October 20: Jupiter’s Double Shadows, Mercury at Superior ConjunctionOctober 20: After midnight, Jupiter’s moons’ shadows dance across the cloud tops. Mercury is at superior conjunction.
- 2023, October 19: Poured Moon, See Planet UranusOctober 19: Sagittarius seems to pour the moon into the sky this evening. Find Uranus with a binocular.
- 2023, October 18: Moon-Antares Conjunction, Bright PlanetsOctober 18, 2023: The moon is near Antares after sunset. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the sky during the nighttime hours.
- 2023, October 17: Scorpion MoonOctober 17, 2023: The crescent moon is with Scorpius during evening twilight. Venus and Jupiter gleam from the predawn sky.
- 2023, October 16: Venus in Starry ConjunctionOctober 16, 2023: Venus passes a star in Leo before sunrise. A crescent moon is low in the western sky during evening twilight.