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.
October 8, 2021: The crescent moon approaches Venus in the western sky this evening, leading up to tomorrow’s close grouping of Venus, the crescent moon, and the three stars of the Scorpion’s head.
October 7, 2021: The lunar crescent returns to the evening sky for a short visit in the western sky after sunset. The bright planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible during the early evening.
Mars is at its solar conjunction on October 7, 2021. It begins a slow return into the morning sky. By year’s end it appears low in the southeastern sky with the moon.
October 6, 2021: The moon is at its New moon phase today. This evening look for the three bright planets after sunset.
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.