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.
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.