March 20, 2021: The Vernal Equinox occurs at 4:37 a.m. CDT. The sun’s light is most directed at the equator. During the next six months, sunlight is more direct in the earth’s northern hemisphere.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:54 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:03 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The Vernal Equinox occurs at 4:37 a.m. CDT. The sun reaches the celestial coordinates 0° longitude, 0° latitude.
If you notice the sunrise and sunset times, daylight is already 9 minutes longer than half of a day.
The sun’s light is most direct at the equator. At this hemisphere-dividing line, the sun passes overhead at noon. Shadows are shortest. They do not disappear. One could seek refuge from the sun’s intensity under a tree or the awning of a porch.
After today, the sun’s daily intensity is directed farther northward with lengthening daylight until June 20.
Before sunrise, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky. About 45 minutes before sunrise. Saturn is about 11° up in the southeast. Jupiter – about 7° above the east-southeast horizon – is 10.4° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder.
Detailed Note: The sun is at 0° of ecliptic longitude at 4:37 a.m. CDT, signaling the beginning of astronomical spring (Vernal Equinox) in the northern hemisphere. During mid-twilight, about 45 minutes before sunrise, Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeastern sky. Saturn is 11° up in the southeast. Jupiter is 10.4° of ecliptic longitude east of Saturn. The Giant Planet is nearly 7° up in the east-southeast, 3.0° to the lower left of ι Cap, while Saturn is 3.7° to the upper right of θ Cap. An hour after sunset, the moon (7.6d, 44%) – between the horns of Taurus – is over two-thirds of the way up in the southwest. It is 3.0° to the upper right of Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau, m = 2.0) and 4.8° to the lower right of Elnath (“the one butting with horns,” β Tau, m =1.6). Mars is over 14° to the lower right of the thick lunar crescent. This evening, Mars passes 6.9° to the upper right of Aldebaran. The planet is nearly 10° to the upper left of Alcyone and the Pleiades. Among the dimmer stars, the Red Planet is 2.6° to the lower right of τ Tau.
Read more about the planets during March 2021.
October 23, 2021: This morning the bright moon is near the Pleiades star cluster. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. In the evening sky, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are easy to spot.
October 22. 2021: Speedy Mercury is low in the east before sunrise. It is putting on its best morning performance of the year. Arcturus, in the east-northeast, is about the same altitude as Mercury.
October 21-November 1, 2021: Brilliant Venus steps through Ophiuchus to the upper left of the star Antares in the southwest after sunset . Afterward, the planet steps farther eastward.
October 21, 2021: The bright moon is low in the west about an hour before sunrise. Mercury is in the east at about the same altitude as Arcturus. Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter shine from the evening sky.
December 18, 2021: This is the anticipated launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most sophisticated space telescope view the universe.