April 10, 2021: Jupiter and Saturn are the bright stars in the southeast before sunrise. Use a binocular to note their eastward movement compared to the background stars.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:18 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:27 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
During the next three weeks the length of daylight is increasing quickly to 14 hours by month’s end. Just from yesterday, daylight increased 4 minutes.
Bright Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is the brightest “star” in this part of the sky. Saturn is nearly 13° to the upper right of Jupiter.
Use a binocular to make observations each clear morning to note the track of the planets compared to their starry background. Both planets are moving eastward in front of the stars of Capricornus, although Jupiter is nearing the Capricornus – Aquarius border.
Use the chart above to identify the stars in the background. Saturn is approaching Theta Capricorni (θ Cap on the chart). Jupiter is passing Deneb Algiedi (δ Cap). Two other stars – Mu Capricorni (μ Cap) and Iota Aquarii (ι Aqr) – are markers to note Jupiter’s eastward trek.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeastern sky. Both are slowly trekking eastward in front of the stars of Capricornus. Jupiter, over 10° up in the east-southeast, is 2.0° to the upper left of Deneb Algedi. Saturn, 12.9° to the upper right of Jupiter, is over 15° in altitude in the southeast. Among the stars, the Ringed Wonder is 2.0° to the upper right of θ Cap. In the evening sky, about an hour after sunset, Mars is about halfway up in the west, marching eastward in Taurus near the horns of the Bull. The Red Planet is 3.9° to the lower left of Elnath and 4.4° to the lower right of ζ Tau.
Read more about the planets during April 2021.
November 7, 2021: During the early evening Venus and the moon group together in the southwest.
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.