March 26, 2021: Venus is at superior conjunction today. Jupiter and Saturn appear higher in the sky each morning before sunrise in the southeastern sky. After sunset, the nearly-full moon is in the east-southeast sky in front of the stars of Leo. Mars is in the west-southwest, marching eastward in Taurus.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:43 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:10 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Venus is at its superior conjunction with the sun at 1:58 a.m. CDT, ending its morning apparition. Begin looking for the brilliant planet later next month in the evening sky.
This morning, Saturn is about 11° above the southeast horizon about an hour before sunrise. The planet appears higher as the sky brightens as sunrise approaches. Bright Jupiter is over 11° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder.
Use a binocular to spot the starfield near the planets. Saturn is 3.2° to the upper right of Theta Capricorni (θ Cap on the chart). Saturn is 4.2° to the lower left of Iota Capricorni (ι Cap).
The moon is approaching the full phase. This evening it is 96% illuminated. One hour after sunset, it is one third of the way up in the sky above the east-southeast horizon. While difficult to see the stars behind the lunar orb, it is over 11° to the upper right of Denebola, “the lion’s tail) and 4.9° to the lower right of Chertan, “the two small ribs.”
Farther west, Mars is over halfway up in the sky above the west-southwest horizon. It continues its eastward march through Taurus. Use a binocular in this bright moonlight to see it 1.3° above Tau Tauri (τ Tau on the chart).
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during March.
Detailed Note: Venus is at its superior conjunction with the sun at 1:58 a.m. CDT. It begins a slow climb into the evening sky. The first evening appearance of the planet occurs approximately on April 21, give or take a day or two. Use a binocular to look for it about 20 minutes after sunset, low in the west-northwest. One hour before sunrise, Saturn is nearly 11° above the southeastern horizon, over 11° to the upper right of bright Jupiter that is about 6° up in the east-southeast. Use a binocular to see the planets against the starry background. Saturn is 3.2° to the upper right of θ Cap, while Jupiter is 4.2° to the lower left of ι Cap. One hour after sunset, Mars is over 50° up in the west-southwest, 1.3° above τ Tau. Farther east, the bright moon (13.6d, 96%) is over one-third of the way up in the sky above the east-southeastern horizon. Block out the moon’s glare to see Denebola (“the lion’s tail,” β Leo, m =2.1) over 11° to the lower left of the lunar orb and Chertan (“the two small ribs,” θ Leo, m = 3.3), 4.9° to the moon’s upper left.
Read more about the planets during March 2021.
April 19, 2021: The first evening appearance of Venus for this apparition occurs this evening. Look for it low in the west-northwest about 20 minutes after sunset.
April 19, 2021: Venus begins to appear in the west after sunset. The moon lines up with Pollux and Castor, while Mars is above Bull’s horns in the western evening sky.
April 19, 2021: The bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Capricornus is the starry background for this giant planet duo.
April 18, 2021: The crescent moon is high in the west after sunset among the stars of Gemini, below Pollux and Castor. Mars is above the Bull’s horns. Daylight is 13 hours, 30 minutes long.
April 18, 2021: The bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Capricornus is the starry background for this giant planet duo. Daylight is 13 hours, 30 minutes long.