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.
October 29 – November 1, 2021: The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!
October 26, 27, and 28, 2021: During the early morning hours, the bright gibbous moon appears in front of Gemini’s stars.
October 26, 2021: Mercury is at its greatest morning appearance for the year. Look low in the east-southeast before sunrise.
October 25, 2021: This morning the bright gibbous moon seems to be caught between the horns of Taurus. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. The planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky.
October 24, 2021: Saturn is at its closest to Jupiter as the Jovian Giant picks up eastward speed. The morning moon and Mercury are visible before sunrise. Brilliant Evening Star Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the sky after sunset.