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.
February 19-21: The bright moon moves through the constellation Taurus. Use a binocular to see the starry background with the moon.
February 18, 2021: The moon, waxing toward its First Quarter moon phase, is high in the southwest after sunset. Planet Mars is 3.8° to the upper right of the moon. Mars is parading eastward compared to the starry background in eastern Aries as it heads toward the Taurus border.
February 6, 2021: Before sunrise, look east-southeast for the waning crescent moon. It is 4.5° to the upper left of Antares – the rival of Mars.