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.
September 14, 2022: Three bright planets and the moon are visible overnight. The moon is near Uranus before daybreak. The Sickle of Leo is in the eastern sky before sunrise.Keep reading
September 13, 2022: Contrary to Internet memes, Mars will not appear as large as the moon when the Red Planet is closest to Earth. Overnight a planet display with Mars, the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn arches across the sky.Keep reading
September 12, 2022: Mars continues its eastward trek with Taurus. Overnight, Saturn, Jupiter, the bright moon, and Mars put on an exhibition that stretches across over half the sky.Keep reading