January 14, 2021: This evening the thin lunar crescent joins Mercury and Jupiter after sunset.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:16 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:43 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
After sunset this evening the thin crescent moon, only 4% illuminated, joins Mercury and Jupiter in the south-southwest. The moon is over 10° in altitude. Mercury is nearly 7° to the lower right of the lunar crescent, while the speedy planet is 4.5° to the upper left of Jupiter.
A binocular helps to initially locate the crescent moon and the planets. If the sky is exceptionally clear, Saturn might be visible near the horizon, although this is a challenging observation.
Read about Mars during January.
Detailed Note: Thirty minutes after sunset, with a binocular look for Jupiter about 3° in altitude in the west-southwest. Mercury is 4.5° to the upper left of Jupiter. The young moon (1.8d, 4%) is nearly 7° to the upper left of Mercury. As the sky darkens further, Mars is over 60° in altitude in the south-southeast. This evening it passes 6.0° below γ Ari. With a binocular or through a telescope with some magnification to resolve its disk, Uranus is 3.2° to the lower left of Mars.
Read more about the planets during January.
November 3, 2021: Before sunrise speedy planet Mercury, the crescent moon, and the star Spica are grouped together. The trio does not appear this close together again until 2033.
October 31, 2021: There is no Halloween Full moon this year, and the phase is not close. The crescent moon is in the morning sky. Mercury is low in the east-southeast before sunrise. The planet pack – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – gleam in the evening sky.
October 29, 2021: Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the sun. It is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn. The crescent moon and Mercury are in the eastern sky before sunrise.
October 29 – November 1, 2021: The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!
October 26, 27, and 28, 2021: During the early morning hours, the bright gibbous moon appears in front of Gemini’s stars.