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.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:03 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:06 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
This morning, the crescent moon – 30% illuminated – is in the south-southeast sky before sunrise. Find it 4.5° to the upper left of the star Antares, “rival of Mars.”
Venus passes Saturn this morning although they are hiding in the sun’s brilliant light.
Read about Mars during February.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the crescent moon (24.3d, 30%) is over 20° in altitude in the south-southeast, 4.5° to the upper left of Antares (α Sco, m = 1.0). Venus passes Saturn today. They rise only 28 minutes before sunrise. Venus transits – crosses the meridian – a few minutes before 11:30 a.m. At this time Venus is 0.6° to the lower left of Saturn. If you use setting circles, Venus’ coordinates at this time are R.A. 20h36m, dec. −19°27’. This is for experienced observers. Do not point your telescope at the sun. Serious eye damage can occur. Depending on the field of view through the eyepiece, determines whether both are in the same telescopic. Because Venus is only 12° from the sun, find a spot to block the sun with a building or other obstruction. You’ll need to use the same technique to see the close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in a few days. One hour after sunset, Mars (m = 0.6) – over 64° in altitude in the south-southwest – is 0.4° to the upper left of α Ari and 1.4° to the lower right of ρ Ari.
Read more about the planets during February.
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.