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.
October 29 – November 1, 2021: The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!
October 26, 27, and 28, 2021: During the early morning hours, the bright gibbous moon appears in front of Gemini’s stars.
October 26, 2021: Mercury is at its greatest morning appearance for the year. Look low in the east-southeast before sunrise.
October 25, 2021: This morning the bright gibbous moon seems to be caught between the horns of Taurus. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. The planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky.
October 24, 2021: Saturn is at its closest to Jupiter as the Jovian Giant picks up eastward speed. The morning moon and Mercury are visible before sunrise. Brilliant Evening Star Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the sky after sunset.