2021, March 26: Morning Planets, Moon, Mars

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2021, March 26: Before sunrise, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky. Saturn is to the upper right of Theta Capricorni (θ Cap), while Jupiter is the lower left of Iota Capricorni (ι Cap).

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.

Morning Sky

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).

Evening Sky

2021, March 26: In the evening, the bright moon is near the ribs (Chertan) and tail (Denebola) of Leo.

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.”

2021, March 26: In this binocular view, Mars is 1.3° above Tau Tauri (τ Tau).

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.

2021, June 15: Moon, Sickle of Leo

June 15, 2021:  The moon is with the Sickle of Leo this evening.  Step outside about an hour after sunset to find the crescent moon that is about 30% illuminated over one-third of the way up in the west.

2021, July 12: Venus – Mars Conjunction

July 12, 2021:  Venus – Mars conjunction evening.  Evening Star Venus passes 0.5° to the upper right of the Red Planet.  The crescent moon is nearby. This is the first of three conjunctions of Venus and Mars – a triple conjunction.

2021, July 1, Saturn – Mars Opposition

July 1, 2021:  Saturn and Mars are in opposite directions in the sky.  Mars sets as Saturn rises. In about a week, the two planets are visible in the sky at the same time.  This event signals that the planet parade is starting to reorganize. During July, three other planet – planet oppositions occur, leading up to a challenging view of the five bright planets during mid-August.

2021, June 13: Moon Passes Mars

June 13, 2021:  After sunset, look for the thin crescent moon near Mars.  The lunar sliver is also to the upper left of the star Pollux.

2021, June 11: Venus – Moon Conjunction

June 11, 2021:  During the early evening brilliant Evening Star Venus and the crescent moon appear together in the west-northwest after sunset.  The pairing is the second closest during this appearance of Venus in the evening sky.

Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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