January 26, 2021: Visible high in the south after sunset, Mars is in Aries heading for an early March conjunction with the Pleiades star cluster.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:08 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:59 p.m. CST. (Note that sunset is approaching 5 p.m. CST) Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Mars continues to fade in brightness after its closest approach to Earth during October 2020. Earth is moving away from the planet, dimming as the distance between the planets grows.
Find the Red Planet high in the south about an hour after sunset. It is in the constellation Aries to the lower left of Hamal (the “full-grown lamb”), the pattern’s brightest star.
Mars is about 20° to the lower right of the Pleiades star cluster.
The cluster does not have any bright stars, but the six or seven stars together tend to catch your eye, when you look into the sky.
Mars closes in and passes the planet during early March.
Read about Mars during January.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali are approaching the meridian. Sunrise is approaching 5 p.m. CST. The sun has been setting before 5 p.m. since the second half of October. Thirty minutes after sunset, Mercury (m = −0.3) is about 11° up in the west-southwest. The moon is in the eastern sky. As the sky darkens further, find it 8.8° to the right of Pollux. Mars is about 64° up in the south, 3.4° to the upper left of 19 Ari and 4.2° to the right of ο Ari.
Read more about the planets during January.
October 5, 2021: Before sunrise, a very thin moon is visible in the eastern sky. The evening planet pack – Evening Star Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible at the same time after sundown.
October 29, 2021: Today is the date for equal daylight and equal darkness for about 42° north latitude. This is not to be confused with the autumnal equinox.
October 4, 2021: Before sunrise, the razor-thin lunar crescent is low in the eastern sky.
October 3, 2021: Before sunrise, the thin crescent moon is in the eastern sky, to the lower left of Regulus. After sunset, the planet pack – Evening Star Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – shine brightly.
October 2, 2021: The crescent moon appears near the head of Leo in the eastern sky this morning before sunrise.