April 1, 2021: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. The moon is among the stars of Scorpius. In the evening sky, the lone bright planet Mars is approaching the Bull’s Horns in the western sky.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:33 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:17 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Jupiter and Saturn continue to climb into the morning sky. Jupiter is now about 8° up in the east-southeast at an hour before sunrise. It is still likely behind buildings or trees. Saturn is dimmer and nearly 12° to the upper right of Jupiter.
The gap between Jupiter and Saturn continues to widen after their close conjunction at the beginning of winter.
The bright moon is farther west of Saturn. It is among the stars of Scorpius. Over 80% illuminated the moon’s brightness makes it difficult to see other stars. It is below Graffias (translated as “crab”). A binocular helps locate the stars as shown on the chart. Notice the contrasting star colors of ω1 Scopii (ω1 Sco on the chart) and ω2 Scorpii ( ω2 Sco).
In the evening sky, Mars is the lone bright planet although its brightness continues to diminish as the Earth – Mars distance widens. Look for it over halfway up in the west as night falls. It is approaching the Bull’s Horns, Elnath and ζ Tauri (ζ Tau on the chart). The planet is now well-past Aldebaran and the Pleiades.
The planet sets about 5 hours after sunset.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during April.
Detailed Note: April 1: One hour before sunrise, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky. Brighter Jupiter (m = −2.1) is nearly 8° up in the east-southeast. Use a binocular to spot Deneb Algiedi (“the kid’s tail,” δ Cap, m = 2.8) 2.0° below the Jovian Giant. Saturn (m = 0.8) is 11.9° of ecliptic longitude to the upper right of Jupiter. The moon (19.0 days after the New Moon phase, 82° illuminated) is 25.0° up in the south-southwest. It is 1.3° to the the star Graffias (“the crab,” β Sco, m = 2.5°). Use a binocular to see the stars nearby. They are difficult to see with the unaided eye because of the moon’s brightness. Notice that Dschubba (δ Sco, m = 2.3) is 1.9° below the lunar orb. Look for two dimmer stars, ω1 Sco (m =3.9) and ω2 Sco (m= 4.2), that are less than a degree to the moon’s upper left. Can you see their contrasting star colors? The sun is in the sky for nearly 12.75 hours. One hour after sunset, Mars (m = 1.6) is over 48° in altitude above the west horizon. It is 6.9° to the lower left of Elnath (“the one butting with horns,” β Tau, m = 1.6).
Read more about the planets during April 2021.
October 23, 2021: This morning the bright moon is near the Pleiades star cluster. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. In the evening sky, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are easy to spot.
October 22. 2021: Speedy Mercury is low in the east before sunrise. It is putting on its best morning performance of the year. Arcturus, in the east-northeast, is about the same altitude as Mercury.
October 21-November 1, 2021: Brilliant Venus steps through Ophiuchus to the upper left of the star Antares in the southwest after sunset . Afterward, the planet steps farther eastward.
October 21, 2021: The bright moon is low in the west about an hour before sunrise. Mercury is in the east at about the same altitude as Arcturus. Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter shine from the evening sky.
December 18, 2021: This is the anticipated launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most sophisticated space telescope view the universe.