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.
May 28, 2021: This evening Mercury passes brilliant Venus for the second of three conjunctions during this evening apparition of the second planet from the sun. Use a binocular about 45 minutes after sunset to see the speedy planet 0.4° to the lower left of Venus. This is the closest visible conjunction until 2033.
May 24, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. In the evening sky, brilliant Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars line up along the solar system’s plane. The bright moon is in the southeast near Zubenelgenubi, “the southern claw.”
May 23, 2021: Five bright planets parade across the sky. Jupiter and Saturn are visible before sunrise in the southeastern sky. The star Fomalhaut is becoming visible below bright Jupiter and near the horizon. After sundown, Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in the western sky. The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the nighttime hours.
May 22, 2021: Five planets parade across the sky. Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Evening Star Venus, Mercury and Mars are in the western sky after sunset. A bright moon is in the southeastern sky.
May 21, 2021: Three bright planets are dancing in the western sky after sundown. Evening Star Venus is entering the sky for a months-long residency after its solar conjunction two months ago. Mercury is heading for a conjunction with Venus after its best evening appearance of the year. Mars continues its eastward march in Gemini, but time is running out on its appearance as it approaches brighter evening twilight and a conjunction with Venus.