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2021, March 27: Bright Morning Planets, Bright Moon, Mars

NASA's image of Saturn

Saturn (NASA)

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2021, March 27: Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise.

March 27, 2021: Jupiter and Saturn are the bright morning planets in the southeast before sunrise.  In the evening, the nearly full moon’s light nearly washes away the dimmer stars.  It is in front of the stars of Virgo and to the lower left of Leo.  Mars continues its eastward march in Taurus.  Find the Red Planet in the west after sunset.

March 27, 2021:

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:42 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:11 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Morning Sky

Jupiter and Saturn are the bright morning planets that shine from the southeastern sky before sunrise.  One hour before sunrise Saturn is about 11° above the southeast horizon.  Brighter Jupiter is 11.3° to the lower left of Saturn.

As twilight progresses, the planetary duo is higher in the sky. Follow them with a binocular until they disappear into the brightness of the approaching sunrise.

Evening Sky

2021, March 27: This binocular view shows the bright moon to the lower left of Nu Virginis (ν Vir).

The nearly full moon starts the evening about 20° up in the east-southeast.  It is in front of the stars of Virgo.  Block the moon’s brightness, with your hand as you would the sun, to see Denebola, “the lion’s tail”, 9.9° to the upper left of the lunar orb.  You need your binocular to see dimmer Nu Virginis (ν Vir on the chart) that is 3.8° to the moon’s upper right.

2021, March 27: Mars is 1.8° above Tau Tauri (τ Tau) and 4.6° to the lower right of Iota Tauri (ι Tau). With the bright moon, use a binocular view the dimmer background stars with Mars.

Farther west, Mars maintains its eastward march through Taurus.  With the bright moon’s dominating the sky, use a binocular to spot the background stars with Mars.  Tau Tauri (τ Tau on the chart) is 1.8° below the Red Planet, while Iota Tauri (ι Tau) is 4.0° to the upper left of the planet.

Mars is about 10° below Elnath, “the one butting with horns.”  This star along with Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau) make the horns of Taurus.  Mars moves between them next month.

Here’s more about Mars during 2021.

Read about Mars during March.

Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Saturn is 11.0° in altitude above the southeast horizon.  Jupiter – over 6° up in the east-southeast – is 11.3° to the lower left of Saturn.  Use a binocular to see that Jupiter is 0.8° to the right of 42 Capricorni (42 Cap, m = 5.2).  One hour after sunset, the moon (14.6d, 99%) is in Virgo, 9.9° to the lower right of Denebola and 3.8° to the lower left of Nu Virginis (ν Vir, m = 4.0).  Block the moon’s glare to see the background stars. Farther west, use a binocular to spot τ Tau, 1.8° below Mars, and Iota Tauri (ι Tau, m =4.6) 4.0° to the upper left of the planet.  Mars (m = 1.3) – over 50° in altitude in the west-southwest – is above the “V” of Taurus, made by Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster. The planet is less than 10° below Elnath (“the one butting with horns,” β Tau, m = 1.6) that marks the northern horn of the Bull.

Read more about the planets during March 2021.


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