April 14, 2021: The picturesque lunar crescent is to the lower left of the Pleiades star cluster after sunset. Earthshine can be seen on the moon’s night portion. Mars is higher in the sky between the Bull’s horns.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:12 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:31 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The crescent moon is higher in the sky than last night. One hour after sunset, the thin moon is nearly 17° up in the west and about 7° to the lower left of the Pleiades star cluster.
Use a binocular to view earthshine on the moon. Reflected sunlight from Earth’s oceans, land masses, and clouds gently illuminate the night portion of the moon. This phase is picturesque and easily photographed with a tripod-mounted camera with an exposure that lasts a few seconds.
In addition, use the binocular to view the dozen or so stars in the Pleiades star cluster. (Large telescopes reveal a few hundred stars in the cluster.) Then turn it toward the “V” of Taurus that is made by Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster.
Mars is higher in the sky, between the horns of Taurus, Elnath and Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau on the chart). The Red Planet is 4.4° to the upper left of Elnath and 3.6° to the upper right of Zeta Tauri.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during April.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, bright Jupiter is nearly 12° up in the east-southeast. Saturn – over 16° in altitude above the southeastern horizon – is 13.4° to the upper right of the Jovian Giant. Among the dimmer stars, Jupiter is 2.6° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi and 0.4° to the upper right of μ Cap. Saturn is 1.8° to the upper right of θ Cap. The moon is at apogee 252,334.8 miles from Earth at 12:46 p.m. CDT. One hour after sunset, the moon (3.0d, 7%) is nearly 17° up in the west and nearly 7° to the lower left of the Pleiades star cluster. Mars is higher in the sky between the horns of Taurus, 4.4° to the upper left of Elnath and 3.6° to the upper right of ζ Tau.
Read more about the planets during April 2021.
- 2023, October 20: Jupiter’s Double Shadows, Mercury at Superior ConjunctionOctober 20: After midnight, Jupiter’s moons’ shadows dance across the cloud tops. Mercury is at superior conjunction.
- 2023, October 19: Poured Moon, See Planet UranusOctober 19: Sagittarius seems to pour the moon into the sky this evening. Find Uranus with a binocular.
- 2023, October 18: Moon-Antares Conjunction, Bright PlanetsOctober 18, 2023: The moon is near Antares after sunset. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the sky during the nighttime hours.
- 2023, October 17: Scorpion MoonOctober 17, 2023: The crescent moon is with Scorpius during evening twilight. Venus and Jupiter gleam from the predawn sky.
- 2023, October 16: Venus in Starry ConjunctionOctober 16, 2023: Venus passes a star in Leo before sunrise. A crescent moon is low in the western sky during evening twilight.