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.
July 26, 2021: Four bright planets are in the evening sky. Mars closes in on Regulus for their conjunction in three evenings. Brilliant Evening Star Venus appears to the upper left of the impending Mars – Regulus conjunction. Saturn and Jupiter are low in the southeastern sky after sunset.
July 25, 2021: Four evenings before its conjunction with Regulus, find Mars in the western sky to the lower right of Venus. As the calendar day ends, look for the moon below bright Jupiter.
July 24, 2021: After sunset, Venus and Mars are in the western sky. A little later during evening hours, the moon is near Jupiter and Saturn in the southeast.
July 23, 2021: Four bright planets are visible during evening hours. Venus and Mars are in the western sky after sunset. A little later, the moon is near Saturn and Jupiter in the southeastern sky.
July 29, 2021: Jupiter and Mars are 180° apart along the ecliptic. Dim Mars sets in the west-northwest as Jupiter rises in the east-southeast. This event signals that soon both appear in the sky simultaneously.