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.
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.