March 28, 2021: With a bright moon in the western sky, Jupiter and Saturn are the bright planets in the southeast. They are appearing higher in the sky each morning. This planet duo moves slightly eastward each morning.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:40 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:12 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Jupiter and Saturn are the bright morning planets above the southeastern horizon during morning twilight. Saturn is over 11° up in the sky. Brighter Jupiter is 11.4° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder.
One hour before sunrise, Jupiter is only 6° above the east-southeast horizon. If you wait 15-20 minutes, you’ll see it a little higher in the sky.
The bright nearly, full moon illuminates the sky from low in the west. The lunar orb reaches its official full phase at 1:48 p.m. CDT. The Old Farmer’s Almanac names March’s Full phase the “Worm Moon.”
Because of the moon’s brightness, use a binocular to see the starry background with the morning planets. Saturn is 3.0° to the upper right of Theta Capricorni (θ Cap on the chart), while Jupiter is 4.6° to the lower left of Iota Capricorni (ι Cap).
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise Saturn is over 11° above the southeastern horizon, 11.4° to the upper right of bright Jupiter. The Jovian Giant is over 6° up in the east-southeast. Use a binocular to see the planets in front of the starry background. Saturn is 3.0° to the upper right of θ Cap, while Jupiter is 4.6° to the lower left of ι Cap. Farther west, the moon (15.0d, 100%) is nearly 14° up in the west. Because of its brightness, block the moon’s glare to spot Eta Virginis (η Vir, m = 3.9), 3.3° to the lower left of the moon, and Porrima (γ Vir, m = 3.4), 7.6° to the upper left of the lunar orb. The moon is Full (Worm Moon) at 1:48 p.m. CDT. One hour after sunset, the moon (15.6d, 100%) is less than 10° above the eastern horizon, 3.0° below Porrima. Farther west, Mars – over 50° up in the west-southwest – is 2.3° above τ Tau and 3.6° to the lower right of ι Tau. The planet is 9.0° below Elnath. Because of the bright moonlight, use a binocular to see Mars with the sidereal background.
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.