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2021, April 4: AM Moon, Planets, PM Mars

The Pleiades star cluster.

The Pleiades star cluster. (U.S. Naval Observatory)

2021, April 4: The Last Quarter Moon is 1.4° to the upper left of Tau Tauri (τ Tau).

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.

Morning Sky

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.

2021, April 4: Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast in front of the stars of Capricornus.

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.

Evening Sky

2021, April 4: Mars is above the “V” of Taurus and below Elnath, the Bull’s northern horn.

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.

2021, December 29: Moon Nears Scorpion, Venus Departs

December 29, 2021: The morning crescent moon approaches Scorpius and Mars.  In the evening sky, four evening planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are lined up in the southwest.  Venus is rapidly leaving the evening sky.

2021, December 28:  Venus Slips, Mercury Hops

December 28, 2021:  Brilliant Venus is quickly slipping from the evening sky.  Mercury appears beneath Venus after sunset.  This duo is joined by Jupiter and Saturn.  In the morning, Mars is near Antares and the moon near Spica.

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