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.
November 6, 2021: The midpoint of Autumn occurs today.
November 3, 2021: Before sunrise speedy planet Mercury, the crescent moon, and the star Spica are grouped together. The trio does not appear this close together again until 2033.
October 31, 2021: There is no Halloween Full moon this year, and the phase is not close. The crescent moon is in the morning sky. Mercury is low in the east-southeast before sunrise. The planet pack – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – gleam in the evening sky.
October 29, 2021: Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the sun. It is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn. The crescent moon and Mercury are in the eastern sky before sunrise.
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!