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.
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.
October 29 – November 1, 2021: The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!
October 26, 27, and 28, 2021: During the early morning hours, the bright gibbous moon appears in front of Gemini’s stars.
October 26, 2021: Mercury is at its greatest morning appearance for the year. Look low in the east-southeast before sunrise.
October 25, 2021: This morning the bright gibbous moon seems to be caught between the horns of Taurus. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. The planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky.