March 10, 2021: The crescent moon appears with Jupiter, Mercury, and Saturn during bright morning twilight in the east-southeast.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:10 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:52 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
This morning the crescent moon joins Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury in the east-southeast before sunrise. The quartet can be found low in the sky between 45 and 30 minutes before sunrise. At the earlier time, Saturn is 8.0° above the east-southeast horizon. Jupiter is slowly moving away from Saturn. It is 9.2° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder. Jupiter is the brighter of the two.
As the sky brightens, Jupiter, Mercury, and the lunar slice come into view. The thin crescent moon is only 9% illuminated. It appears 5.4° to the lower right of Jupiter.
Mercury is low in the sky as well, 4.4° to the lower left of Jupiter.
A binocular is necessary to see the morning grouping of the quartet as the sky brightens from the approaching sunrise.
Having a view of a clear, unobstructed horizon is important to see the morning planets and the moon.
Detailed Note: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Saturn is 8.0° up in the east-southeast, Jupiter is 9.2° of ecliptic longitude east of Saturn. The Giant planet is nearly 4° in altitude. Fifteen minutes later, Jupiter is over 6° in altitude. Use a binocular to spot Mercury, 4.4° to the lower left of Jupiter. Mercury is only 4° in altitude. The thin crescent moon (26.7d, 9%) is nearly 4° in altitude, 5.4° to the lower right of Jupiter. One hour after sunset. Mars is 57.0° up in the west-southwest among the clustered starfields of Taurus. The planet is nicely placed to the right of Aldebaran and the Hyades, and to the upper left of the Pleiades. The planet is 0.3° above 37 Tau.
Read more about the planets during March 2021.
January 3, 2022: The moon passes Venus for the final time of this evening appearance of Venus. As night falls, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter are visible in the southwest. Mars is in the southeast before sunrise.
December 30, 2021: As the year ends and the new one opens, the night sky’s brightest star – Sirius – is in the southern sky at the midnight hour.
December 31, 2021: This morning before sunup, the thin waning crescent moon appears near Mars and the star Antares. Four planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are on parade in the southwest after sundown.
December 30, 2021: The morning crescent moon seems to be captured in the Scorpion’s pincers to the upper right of Mars. Four Evening Planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are in the southwest after sundown.
December 28, 2021: The Great Andromeda Galaxy is nearly overhead at the end of the evening twilight.