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.
July 29, 2021: In a challenging-to-see conjunction, Mars passes 0.6° to the upper right of the star Regulus.
July 29, 2021: The Jupiter – Mars opposition occurs this evening. The planets are 180° apart as viewed from our planet. Mars is setting as Jupiter rises.
July 27, 2021: Evening Star Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are in the evening sky. Mars is nearing its conjunction with Regulus in two evenings.
July 26, 2021: Four bright planets are in the evening sky. Mars closes in on Regulus for their conjunction in three evenings. Brilliant Evening Star Venus appears to the upper left of the impending Mars – Regulus conjunction. Saturn and Jupiter are low in the southeastern sky after sunset.
July 25, 2021: Four evenings before its conjunction with Regulus, find Mars in the western sky to the lower right of Venus. As the calendar day ends, look for the moon below bright Jupiter.