March 13, 2021: With the vernal equinox a week away, daylight nears 12 hours. The moon is at its New phase this morning. Two morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:05 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:55 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The moon is at its New phase at 4:21 a.m. CST. The nighttime portion of the moon is facing Earth. The moon’s far side is fully illuminated in sunlight, while the earth-facing side is fully in darkness.
Tomorrow evening the moon appears as a thin crescent in the western sky shortly after sunset.
Notice how the sunrise and sunset times are converging on about 12 hours. Today daylight is 11 hours, 50 minutes long.
During the night tonight, Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the USA and Canada. Clocks are advanced one hour forward to push daylight into the evening hours. Contrary to popular thinking, an hour of daylight is not invented.
During standard time, the sun is south at “noon.” During daylight time, the sun is south at 1 p.m.
This morning Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Off their great conjunction on winter solstice day, Jupiter slowly steps away from Saturn. It will take 20 years for Jupiter to pull away and catch Saturn again.
The gap between the planets is 9.6°. Jupiter is bright and to the lower left of Saturn.
Detailed Note: The moon is at its New phase at 4:21 a.m. CST. Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Saturn is nearly 9° in altitude above the southeast horizon. Jupiter – nearly 5° in altitude above the east-southeast horizon – is 9.6° to the lower left of Saturn. One hour after sunset, Mars is 56.0° up in the west-southwest The Red Planet passes 7.2° to the upper right of Gamma Tauri (γ Tau, m = 3.6). The star is near the point of the “V” of Taurus in the Hyades star cluster. Through a telescope spot κ Tau, 2.8° to the upper left of Mars, while υ Tau is 3.0° to the planet’s upper left.
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.