March 3, 2021: Evening planet Mars is in Taurus and it nears a conjunction Alcyone, the brightest star in the Pleiades.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:22 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:44 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
In the evening sky, Mars is passing the Pleiades star cluster in Taurus. While this can be seen with the unaided eye, the best view is with a binocular. The field of view is demonstrated in the chart above. Mars is 2.6° to the lower left of Alcyone, the cluster’s brightest star.
Look for them high in the west-southwest starting about one hour after sunset. Mars and the surround stars set over 6 hours after sunset. There’s ample time to view them during the early evening, weather permitting.
Tomorrow evening is the Mars – Alcyone conjunction. The gap between them is slightly smaller.
As the day ends, find the gibbous moon very low in the east-southeastern sky.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during March.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (19.7d, 78%) is about a third of the way up in the south-southwestern sky. It is 6.7° to the upper right of Zubenelgenubi (α Lib, m = 2.8). Fifteen minutes later, Saturn is nearly 7° above the east-southeastern horizon. As the sky brightens further, use a binocular to see Jupiter nearly 5° in altitude in the east-southeast with Mercury 1.2° to the Giant Planet’s upper right. One hour after sunset, Mars (m = 1.0) is nearly two-thirds of the way up in the sky in the west-southwest, 2.6° to the lower left of Alcyone. When rounded this evening’s gap is the same as what is observed tomorrow evening when Mars passes the star. As midnight approaches, the moon (20.4d, 70%) is very low in the east-southeastern sky.
Read more about the planets during March 2021.
April 24, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus and bright Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are low in the west-northwest during evening twilight. The bright moon is in the southeast in Virgo. Mars moves into Gemini as it approaches the star cluster Messier 35.
April 24, 2021: The bright gibbous moon is near a star in Virgo during the early morning. From parts of the Western Hemisphere, the moon covers the star. Before sunrise, bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.
April 23, 2021: Evening Star Venus and Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are found very low in the west-northwest after sunset. The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the early evening. Mars is moving toward the star cluster Messier 35.
April 23, 2021: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is the brightest “star” in the region. Saturn is to the Jovian Giant’s upper right.
April 22, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus is making its first appearance in the western sky after sunset. Look just above the horizon at 20 minutes after sunset. The bright, gibbous moon is in Leo. Mars approaches the star cluster Messier 35 in a darker sky.