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.
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.