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.
April 25, 2021: Mercury passes Evening Star Venus this evening after sunset. Look low in the western sky about 20 minutes after sunset. Mars is marching eastward in Gemini, near the star cluster Messier 35. The bright moon is near Spica.
April 25, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is in front of the stars of Aquarius, while Saturn’s starry background is Capricornus.
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.