2021, March 22: Morning Planets, Evening Gibbous Moon, Mars

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2021, March 22: Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Saturn is to the upper right of Theta Capricorni (θ Cap). Jupiter is to the lower left of Iota Capricorni (ι Cap).
2021, March 22: Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Saturn is to the upper right of Theta Capricorni (θ Cap). Jupiter is to the lower left of Iota Capricorni (ι Cap).

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.

Morning Sky

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.

Evening Sky

2021, March 22: The bright gibbous moon is high in the southern sky after sunset near Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins.
2021, March 22: The bright gibbous moon is high in the southern sky after sunset near Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins.

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. 

2021, March 22: Mars is in the west-southwest after sunset in front of the stars of Taurus. It is approaching the star Tau Tauri (τ Tau).
2021, March 22: Mars is in the west-southwest after sunset in front of the stars of Taurus. It is approaching the star Tau Tauri (τ Tau).

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.

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