April 7, 2021: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. The moon is low in the southeast, to the lower right of Jupiter. Find a clear horizon to see it. Today daylight is 13 long from Chicago’s latitude. After sunset, find Mars about halfway up in the west, below the Bull’s horns.
April 7, 2021
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:23 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:23 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Today from Chicago’s latitude, daylight is 13 hours long. During the next 24 days, the length grows another hour, over 2 minutes of growth each day and 15 minutes each week.
This morning, one hour before sunrise, bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky. The gap between the planets is 12.6°. Saturn is to the upper right of Jupiter.
If you have a good view of the horizon, the crescent moon, only 20% illuminated, is 5.0° to the lower right of Jupiter. As the sky brightens further, the moon and planets rise higher into the sky. By 30 minutes before sunrise, the moon is over 8° up in the sky. Can you find Jupiter without a binocular?
One hour after sunset, Mars is about halfway up in the west. It continues its eastward march in Taurus. The Red Planet is well-above the “V” of Taurus, made by Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster, and below the Bull’s Horns, Elnath and Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau on the chart).
Mars is 4.4° to the lower left of Elnath. Watch Mars pass between the horns on April 11 and April 12.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during April.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Saturn is over 13° above the southeastern horizon. Bright Jupiter is 12.6° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder. In the starfield, Saturn is 2.2° to the upper right of θ Cap, while Jupiter is 2.0° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi. If you have a good view of Jupiter and the sky beneath it, the moon (25.2d, 20%) is 5.0° to the lower right of Jupiter. The lunar slice is only about 4° in altitude. As sunrise approaches, the moon is higher in the sky. By 30 minutes before sunrise, it is over 8° in altitude. By that point you may need a binocular to initially locate the moon. One hour after sunset, Mars is over halfway up in the west, marching eastward in Taurus. It is 4.4° to the lower left of Elnath.
Read more about the planets during April 2021.
August 2, 2021: Saturn is at opposition with the sun. Earth is between the sun and the planet.
August 1 – 6, 2021: The morning moon wanes toward its New moon phase in the eastern sky. It passes the bright stars that are prominent in the evening sky during the winter season in the northern hemisphere. The stars have been making their first appearances in the morning sky during summer. At this hour, Procyon and bright Sirius are the last stellar duo to appear.
August 6, 2021: In the northern hemisphere, summer’s midpoint occurs today at 6:27 p.m. CDT.
July 31, 2021: The slightly gibbous moon, nearing its Last Quarter phase, is in the southeast as morning twilight begins. It is near the planet Uranus, easily within reach of a binocular. Mira, a variable star, reaches its brightest next month.
July 29, 2021: In a challenging-to-see conjunction, Mars passes 0.6° to the upper right of the star Regulus.