April 2, 2021: The bright moon is in the south about an hour before sunrise. It is to the upper left of the star Antares. Farther east, Jupiter and Saturn are low in the sky. During the evening. Mars is below Elnath, a horn of Taurus.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:31 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:18 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Step outside about an hour before sunrise and look southward. The bright gibbous moon is there. It is to the upper left of the star Antares (“the rival of Mars”). The lunar orb is nearly 75% illuminated, certainly bright enough to cast your shadow.
Farther east, bright Jupiter is low in the east-southeast. Use a binocular to spot the star Deneb Algiedi (“the kid’s tail”) to the bright planet’s lower right. Saturn is about 12° to the upper right of Jupiter.
Jupiter is moving eastward faster than Saturn as it opens a gap on the Ringed Wonder.
During the evening, Mars is over halfway up in the sky in the west. It is in front of the starry background of Taurus, continuing its eastward march. It is heading toward the horns of the Bull. This evening it is 6.4° to the lower left of Elnath (“the one butting with horns”) that marks the Bull’s Northern Horn. The second horn is Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau on the chart.)
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during April.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (20.0d, 72%) is 24.0° up in the south. In Ophiuchus, the lunar orb is 7.8° to the upper left of Antares (“the rival of Mars,” α Sco, m = 1.0). Farther east, bright Jupiter is nearly 8° above the east-southeastern horizon. Jupiter is 1.9° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi (“the kid’s tail”). Saturn is 12° to Jupiter’s upper right. Deneb (“the hen’s tail,” α Cyg, m = 1.2) sets at sunset. One hour later, Mars – nearly 48° up in the west – is moving eastward in Taurus, near the Bull’s Horns. This evening it is 6.4° to the lower left of Elnath. The second horn is marked by the star Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau on the chart).
Read more about the planets during April 2021.
January 3, 2022: The moon passes Venus for the final time of this evening appearance of Venus. As night falls, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter are visible in the southwest. Mars is in the southeast before sunrise.
December 30, 2021: As the year ends and the new one opens, the night sky’s brightest star – Sirius – is in the southern sky at the midnight hour.
December 31, 2021: This morning before sunup, the thin waning crescent moon appears near Mars and the star Antares. Four planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are on parade in the southwest after sundown.
December 30, 2021: The morning crescent moon seems to be captured in the Scorpion’s pincers to the upper right of Mars. Four Evening Planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are in the southwest after sundown.
December 28, 2021: The Great Andromeda Galaxy is nearly overhead at the end of the evening twilight.