April 4, 2021: This morning the Last Quarter moon is near Sagittarius. Jupiter and Saturn are moving eastward in Capricornus. During the evening, Mars is marching eastward through Taurus, below the Bull’s horns.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:28 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:20 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
This morning during twilight, about an hour before sunrise, the Last Quarter moon is in the south-southeast. It is to the left of The Teapot of Sagittarius. It is 1.4° to the upper left of Tau Sagittarii (τ Sgr on the chart). The star is in the pot’s handle.
Sagittarius, in mythology, is a centaur, part human and part horse. The Teapot shape as an asterism, a group of stars that resembles a familiar object. The Big Dipper is an asterism. It is part of a larger group known as Ursa Major.
There is some “evidence” that this is truly a teapot. A teaspoon (part of Sagittarius) can be found to the teapot’s upper left. On very clear mornings, a lemon wedge (Corona Australis) is beneath the pot. The pot’s steam is the origin of the Milky Way.
Farther eastward, Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeast. They are slowing moving eastward compared to the starry background.
Jupiter is brighter and lower in the sky. It is nearly 9° up in the east-southeast. Saturn is to the upper right, 12.2° away.
The distance from the half-full moon to Saturn is about twice the distance of the Jupiter – Saturn gap.
Use a binocular to spot the background stars. Saturn is 2.5° to the upper right of Theta Capricorni (θ Cap on the chart) while Jupiter is 1.9° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi (δ Cap),
Make observations each clear morning to note distance moved compared to these stars and to determine which planet moves faster.
One hour after sunset, Mars is over halfway up in the west in front of the starry background of Taurus. It is above the “V” of Taurus, made Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster, and below the Bull’s horns, Elnath and Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau on the chart). This evening the Red Planet is 5.7° to the lower left of Elnath.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during April.
Detailed Note: The moon is at its Last Quarter phase at 5:02 a.m. CDT. At this hour look for it low in the south-southeast, 1.4° to the upper left of Tau Sagittarii (τ Sgr, m = 3.3), in the handle of the Teapot of Sagittarius. Saturn – nearly 13° above the southeast horizon – is over 25° to the lower left of the moon and 2.5° to the upper right of θ Cap. Bright Jupiter – nearly 9° up in the east-southeast – is 12.2° to the lower left of Saturn and 1.9° to the upper left of δ Cap. One hour after sunset, Mars is over 45° up in the west moving eastward in Taurus. This evening, it is 5.7° to the lower left of Elnath.
Read more about the planets during April 2021.
July 29, 2021: The Jupiter – Mars opposition occurs this evening. The planets are 180° apart as viewed from our planet. Mars is setting as Jupiter rises.
July 27, 2021: Evening Star Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are in the evening sky. Mars is nearing its conjunction with Regulus in two evenings.
July 26, 2021: Four bright planets are in the evening sky. Mars closes in on Regulus for their conjunction in three evenings. Brilliant Evening Star Venus appears to the upper left of the impending Mars – Regulus conjunction. Saturn and Jupiter are low in the southeastern sky after sunset.
July 25, 2021: Four evenings before its conjunction with Regulus, find Mars in the western sky to the lower right of Venus. As the calendar day ends, look for the moon below bright Jupiter.
July 24, 2021: After sunset, Venus and Mars are in the western sky. A little later during evening hours, the moon is near Jupiter and Saturn in the southeast.