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.
March 9, 2021: Mars marches eastward in Taurus. Find it high in the west-southwest after sunset.
March 9, 2021: The moon joins Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury in the southeastern sky before sunrise.
March 8, 2021: Mars continues its eastward march in Taurus. It is nearly between the Pleiades star cluster and Aldebaran, the constellation’s brightest star. Find it during the early evening, high in the west-southwestern sky.