April 6, 2021: Find Mars in the west after sunset. It is approaching the Bull’s horns. Mars, not as bright as it was a few months ago, is in a sea of the bright winter stars.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:25 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:22 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
One hour after sunset, Mars is over halfway up in the west. It is approaching the horns of Taurus, Elnath – “the one butting with horns” – and Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau on the chart).
This evening, Mars is 4.8° to the lower left of Elnath.
Mars has dimmed considerably since Earth was between it and the sun during October last year. Earth revolves faster on its inner orbit and it has moved away from the Red Planet.
The brightness is about 40 times dimmer than when it was at its closest. The planet is still bright, but not dazzling. Its brightness puts it in the top 25 brightest “stars” in the sky.
Mars’ brightness seems reduced by the bright stars that are nearby, Aldebaran, Capella, Betelgeuse, Rigel, Procyon, Pollux and Castor.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during April.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (24.2d, 29%) is about 10° up in the southeast. Saturn is 4.7° to the upper left of the lunar slice. Bright Jupiter is 12.5° to the lower left of Saturn. In the starfield, Saturn is 2.3° to the upper right of θ Cap. Jupiter is 1.9° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi. One hour after sunset, Mars (m = 1.4) is over halfway up in the west, 4.8° to the lower left of Elnath
Read more about the planets during April 2021.
November 6, 2021: The midpoint of Autumn occurs today.
November 3, 2021: Before sunrise speedy planet Mercury, the crescent moon, and the star Spica are grouped together. The trio does not appear this close together again until 2033.
October 31, 2021: There is no Halloween Full moon this year, and the phase is not close. The crescent moon is in the morning sky. Mercury is low in the east-southeast before sunrise. The planet pack – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – gleam in the evening sky.
October 29, 2021: Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the sun. It is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn. The crescent moon and Mercury are in the eastern sky before sunrise.
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!