March 19, 2021: Jupiter and Saturn climb into the morning sky. They are visible low in the southeast before sunrise. In the evening sky the crescent moon is near Mars in front of the stars of Taurus the Bull. Mars is to the lower right of the lunar slice.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:55 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:02 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Two bright planets – Jupiter and Saturn – are low in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Saturn is nearly 11° up in the southeast. Brighter Jupiter – over 6° above the east-southeast horizon – is 10.3° to Saturn’s lower left.
One hour after sunset, the waxing crescent moon is high in the west-southwestern sky in front of the stars of Taurus. The thick crescent is 3.2° to the upper left of Mars and 5.4° to the upper right of Aldebaran.
Use a binocular to inspect the moon’s surface, the Hyades star cluster, and the Pleiades star cluster.
With the binocular find Mars with the dimmer starry background. It is 0.6° above Upsilon Tauri (υ Tau on the chart). Notice that dimmer 72 Tauri (72 Tau) is between them.
Make nightly observations to watch Mars open a gap with υ Tau and move toward τ Tau.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during March.
Detailed Note: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Saturn is nearly 11° in altitude in the southeast. The Jupiter – Saturn gap is 10.3°, with Jupiter to Saturn’s lower left. One hour after sunset, the moon is about 55° up in the west-southwest, Mars (m = 1.2) is 3.2° to the lower right of the moon (6.6d, 35%). The lunar crescent is 5.4° to the upper right of Aldebaran. Use binocular to observe that the Red Planet is 0.6° above υ Tau, with dimmer 72 Tau between them. Mars is 3.2° to the lower right of τ Tau.
Read more about the planets during March 2021.
- 2023, October 20: Jupiter’s Double Shadows, Mercury at Superior ConjunctionOctober 20: After midnight, Jupiter’s moons’ shadows dance across the cloud tops. Mercury is at superior conjunction.
- 2023, October 19: Poured Moon, See Planet UranusOctober 19: Sagittarius seems to pour the moon into the sky this evening. Find Uranus with a binocular.
- 2023, October 18: Moon-Antares Conjunction, Bright PlanetsOctober 18, 2023: The moon is near Antares after sunset. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the sky during the nighttime hours.
- 2023, October 17: Scorpion MoonOctober 17, 2023: The crescent moon is with Scorpius during evening twilight. Venus and Jupiter gleam from the predawn sky.
- 2023, October 16: Venus in Starry ConjunctionOctober 16, 2023: Venus passes a star in Leo before sunrise. A crescent moon is low in the western sky during evening twilight.