March 30, 2021: The bright moon is in the southwest before sunrise, to the upper left of Spica. Saturn and Jupiter are low in the southeastern sky. After sunset, Mars is in the west-southwest in front of Taurus. The gibbous moon is low in the southeast, near Zubenelgenubi, four hours after sunset.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:36 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:14 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The moon reaches perigee, closest point to earth, at 1:16 a.m. CDT when it is nearly 224,000 miles away from Earth.
The bright gibbous moon is over 20° up in the sky above the southwest horizon. This morning it is nearly 10° to the upper left of Spica.
Farther eastward, Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeastern sky. Saturn is nearly 12° in altitude, while brighter Jupiter is 11.6° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder.
One hour after sunset, Mars is over halfway up in the west. It is above the “V” of Taurus that is made by Aldebaran, the constellation’s brightest star, and the Hyades star cluster. Mars is approaching the horns of Taurus, dotted by Elnath and Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau on the chart). Use a binocular to see the starfield with the planet. The Red Planet is 3.5° to the upper left of Tau Tauri (τ Tau) and 2.9° to the upper right of Iota Tauri (ι Tau).
Four hours after sunset. the gibbous moon is about 10° up in the east-southeast. It is 1.6° to the upper left of Zubenelgenubi, “the southern claw.”
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during March.
Detailed Note: The moon is at perigee at 1:16 a.m. CDT (223,918.9 miles). One hour before sunrise, the gibbous moon (17.0d, 96%) is over 20° above the southwestern horizon, 9.7° to the upper left of Spica. Farther eastward, Saturn is nearly 12° up in the southeast with Jupiter (m = −2.1) 11.6° east of the Ringed Wonder. In the starfield, Saturn is 2.8° to the upper right of θ Cap, while Jupiter is 5.0° to the lower right of ι Cap. One hour after sunset, Mars is nearly 50° up in the southwest, above the “V” of Taurus that is made by Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster. Use a binocular to spot the planet 3.5° to the upper left of τ Tau, 2.9° to the upper right of ι Tau, and 7.9° below Elnath. Four hours after sunset (11:15 p.m. CDT), the moon (17.8d, 91%) is over 10° in altitude above the east-southeastern horizon. The lunar orb is 1.6° to the upper left of Zubenelgenubi (“the southern claw,” α Lib, m = 2.8).
Read more about the planets during March 2021.
January 3, 2022: The moon passes Venus for the final time of this evening appearance of Venus. As night falls, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter are visible in the southwest. Mars is in the southeast before sunrise.
December 30, 2021: As the year ends and the new one opens, the night sky’s brightest star – Sirius – is in the southern sky at the midnight hour.
December 31, 2021: This morning before sunup, the thin waning crescent moon appears near Mars and the star Antares. Four planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are on parade in the southwest after sundown.
December 30, 2021: The morning crescent moon seems to be captured in the Scorpion’s pincers to the upper right of Mars. Four Evening Planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are in the southwest after sundown.
December 28, 2021: The Great Andromeda Galaxy is nearly overhead at the end of the evening twilight.