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.
September 29, 2021: The thick crescent moon is in the southeast before sunrise, approaching the middle of Gemini. The evening planet pack is visible after sunset.
September 28, 2021: This morning the moon, as it approaches its Last Quarter phase, is high in the south at the Gemini – Taurus border. The evening planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – brightly shine after sunset.
September 27, 2021: Before sunrise this morning, the bright moon seems caught between the horns of Taurus, Elnath and Zeta Tauri. The planet pack, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, are visible after sundown.
September 26, 2021: This morning a bright moon is between the Pleaides and Hyades star clusters.
September 25, 2021: The bright morning moon approaches the Pleiades star cluster and Aldebaran. In the evening sky, brilliant Evening Star Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are easy to spot.