March 22, 2021: Jupiter and Saturn continue to slowly climb into the morning sky. Find them low in the southeastern sky before sunrise. After sunset, the bright gibbous moon is high in the southern sky near Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins. Mars is farther west in Taurus. It continues its eastward march through the starfields of the constellation.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:50 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:06 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Forty-five minutes before sunup, Jupiter is over 7° above the east-southeast horizon. Dimmer Saturn – nearly 12° up in the southeast – is 10.7° to the upper right of the Jovian Giant.
Use a binocular to locate the dimmer star Theta Capricorni (θ Cap on the chart) to the lower left of Saturn. Jupiter is to the lower left of Iota Capricorni (ι Cap). During the next several mornings watch Jupiter move away from the neighboring star while Saturn very slowly inches toward θ Cap.
This evening the bright gibbous moon – 70° up in the south-southwest – is 6.0° to the lower right of Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins. As the moon’s phase waxes, the sky brightens and dims the fainter stars.
Farther west, Mars is over halfway up in the west-southwest. The planet continues its eastward march in Taurus. It is approaching the star Tau Tauri (τ Tau on the chart). This evening the gap is 1.5° with Mars to the lower right of the star. Use a binocular to locate the starry background with the brighter planet.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during March.
Detailed Note: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Saturn is nearly 12° in altitude in the southeast, while Jupiter is over 7° in altitude above the east-southeast horizon, 10.7° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder. Use a binocular to spot θ Cap, 3.5° to the lower left of Saturn. Jupiter is 3.4° to the lower left of ι Cap. In the evening one hour after sunset, Mars is over 50° up in the west-southwest, 1.5° to the lower right of τ Tau. Farther east, the bright moon (9.6d, 64%) is over 70° above the southern horizon, 6.0° to the lower right of Pollux (β Gem, m =1.2).
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.