March 9, 2021: The moon joins Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury in the southeastern sky before sunrise.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:12 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:51 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
This morning the crescent moon is low in the southeast about 45 minutes before sunrise. Look for Saturn 7.9° to the upper left of the lunar slice. Jupiter is in the sky as well, but only about 4° above the east-southeastern horizon and 9.1° to the lower left of Saturn.
Fifteen minutes later, Jupiter is higher in the sky, but a binocular is needed to see the planets in the brighter sky of the approaching sunrise. At this time Mercury is 3.5° to the lower left of the Jovian Giant.
Find a clear, unobstructed horizon to view this morning quartet.
Detailed Note: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, the crescent moon (25.7d, 16%) is about 7° up in the southeast. Saturn – nearly 8° up in the east-southeast – is 7.9° to the upper left of the lunar slice. At this hour, Jupiter – nearly 4° up in the east-southeast – is 9.1° to the lower left of Saturn. Fifteen minutes later, Jupiter is over 6° in altitude. Mercury is 3.5° to the lower left of the Giant Planet. Use a binocular to see them. One hour after sunset, Mars is high in the west-southwest, 4.0° to the upper left of Alcyone and 9.6° to the lower right of Aldebaran. Use a binocular to spot the planet with the starfield with the Hyades and the Pleiades. Mars is 0.3° to the lower right of 37 Tau, and above a line from Alcyone to Aldebaran.
Read more about the planets during March 2021.
- 2023, December 19: A Scorpion Fumble, Moon MidwayDecember 19, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus appears below the Scorpion’s claws. After sundown, the moon is nearly midway from Saturn to Jupiter.
- 2023, December 18: Pinched VenusDecember 18, 2023: Look for Venus between the Scorpion’s claws in the southeast before sunrise. The thick crescent moon is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn.
- 2023, December 17: Celestial PairsDecember 17, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus passes Zubenelgenubi, a planet-star conjunction. After sundown, Saturn and crescent moon are paired, a planet-moon conjunction.
- 2023, December 16: Venus Clawed, Evening Crescent Nears SaturnDecember 16, 2023: Before daybreak, Venus is above the Scorpion’s southern claw. After nightfall, the crescent moon nears Saturn.
- 2023, December 15: Brilliant Morning Star, Evening Lunar CrescentDecember 15, 2023: Before sunrise, brilliant Venus approaches Zubenelgenubi, the Scorpion’s southern claw. The crescent moon returns to the western evening sky.