2021, April 6: Moon Dances with Saturn

2021, April 6: This morning the moon – low in the southeastern sky – is 4.7° to the lower right of Saturn. Jupiter is 12.5° to the lower left of Saturn.

April 6, 2021: This morning, the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn are low in the southeast before sunrise.  The lunar crescent is 4.7° to the lower right of Saturn, while Jupiter is 12.5° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder.

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.

Morning Sky

If you are noting the sunrise time and sunset time, the length of daylight is nearing 13 hours.  At Chicago’s latitude, this occurs tomorrow and daylight continues to rapidly grow through the month.

This morning the lunar crescent appears near Saturn.  The crescent is less than 30% illuminated and appears 4.7° to the lower right of the Ringed Wonder.

A binocular reveals lunar features in high contrast along the terminator, the division between daylight and darkness where the sun is setting on the moon.

Use a binocular to note that Saturn is 2.3° to the upper right of Theta Capricorni (θ Cap on the chart).

Brighter Jupiter – 10° above the southeast horizon – is 12.5° to the lower left of Saturn and 1.9° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi (δ Cap).

Tomorrow morning, the moon is near Jupiter.

A lunar day lasts the length of a lunar phase cycle, 29.5 days.  The moon is in synchronous rotation so that it rotates at the same speed it revolves. The same side of the moon faces our planet.  The lunar mountains, craters, and volcanic plains that make the “Man-in-the-Moon” shape are always visible from Earth, except at the New moon phase when the earth-facing side is in full darkness.

We do not see the far side of the moon.  That far side receives nearly 15 earth-days of sunlight and darkness.  This is the same for the side that faces Earth.

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.

2021, July 6: Venus, Mars Final Approach

July 6, 2021:  In less than a week, brilliant Venus passes Mars in the west-northwestern sky after sunset.  This evening the two planets are 3.8° apart.  Venus is over 18° to the lower right of the star Regulus.

2021, July 1- 7, Morning Moon

July 1 – July 7, 2021, the waning crescent appears in the eastern sky.  Early in the viewing period, the moon is among the dim stars of Pisces.  As the week progresses, the moon wanes and moves farther eastward, appearing near Taurus.

2021, July 5: Earth at Aphelion

July 5, 2021:  Our planet Earth reaches its farthest point in its yearly trek around the sun.  Our seasons are not related to Earth’s distance from the sun.  Coincidentally, the moon is at its farthest point from Earth today.

2021, July 4: Venus Aims at Mars

July 4, 2021: The Venus – Mars conjunction is eight days away.  This evening Venus moves to within 5° of the Red Planet.

Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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