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.
April 25, 2021: Mercury passes Evening Star Venus this evening after sunset. Look low in the western sky about 20 minutes after sunset. Mars is marching eastward in Gemini, near the star cluster Messier 35. The bright moon is near Spica.
April 25, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is in front of the stars of Aquarius, while Saturn’s starry background is Capricornus.
April 24, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus and bright Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are low in the west-northwest during evening twilight. The bright moon is in the southeast in Virgo. Mars moves into Gemini as it approaches the star cluster Messier 35.
April 24, 2021: The bright gibbous moon is near a star in Virgo during the early morning. From parts of the Western Hemisphere, the moon covers the star. Before sunrise, bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.
April 23, 2021: Evening Star Venus and Mercury are entering the evening sky. They are found very low in the west-northwest after sunset. The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the early evening. Mars is moving toward the star cluster Messier 35.