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.
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.