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.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:42 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:28 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The thick crescent moon is two-thirds of the way up in the sky above the southwest horizon as night falls. Mars, dimmer than it was at the beginning of the month, is 3.8° to the upper right of the moon.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Mars is parading eastward in Aries and moves into Taurus in five evenings. The planet is approaching the Pleiades star cluster. This evening it is 8.2° to the lower right of the cluster’s brightest star, Alcyone.
Notice that the star Aldebaran is nearly 20° to the upper left of the crescent moon.
Read about Mars during February.
Detailed Note: The moon is at apogee (251,299 miles) at 4:37 a.m. CST. One hour before sunrise, Leo is less than one-third of the way up in the west. Thirty minutes later, Saturn and Mercury (m = 1.2) are very low in the east-southeast. Their visibility improves each day, but seeing them is a challenging observation. Mercury is 5.1° to the upper left of Saturn. One hour after sunset, the moon (7.2d, 43%) is two-thirds of the way up in the sky above the southwest horizon and 3.8° to the lower left of Mars (m = 0.8). In the starfield Mars is 1.4° to the upper left of δ Ari and 1.5° to the lower left of Zeta Arietis (ζ Ari, m = 4.8). The Red Planet continues to close in on the Pleiades star cluster. The gap is 8.2° from Mars to Alcyone. Mars is to the lower right of the star cluster.
Read more about the planets during February.
March 18, 2021: Jupiter and Saturn are visible in the southeastern sky as sunup approaches. Jupiter is the brighter planet, but it is low in the east-southeast. Saturn is to the Jovian Giant’s upper right. During the early evening, the waxing crescent moon is in the western sky near the Pleiades star cluster and below Mars. The Red Planet is moving eastward in Taurus.
March 17, 2021: Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeastern sky before sunrise. During the early evening the lunar crescent is about one-third of the way up in the sky to the upper left of Hamal, the brightest star in Aries. Mars is higher in the sky in Taurus. This evening it makes a pretty triangle with two dim stars.
March 16, 2021: Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeastern sky before sunrise. During the evening the lunar crescent displays earthshine, while Mars continues to march eastward through the starfields of Taurus.