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.
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.