April 19, 2021: The bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Capricornus is the starry background for this giant planet duo.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:04 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:36 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Bright Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeast before sunrise.
Saturn is about 18° above the southeast horizon. With a binocular notice that it is 1.5° to the upper right of Theta Capricorni (θ Cap on the chart).
Jupiter – the brightest star in the region – is nearly 14° to the lower left of Saturn. Both planets are moving eastward compared to the starry background.
This morning Jupiter and Saturn are in front of the stars of Capricornus. In six mornings, Jupiter crosses into Aquarius.
With the binocular spot Deneb Algiedi (δ Cap) 3.3° to the lower right of Jupiter. Mu Capricorni (μ Cap) is 0.4° to the upper right of the planet and Iota Aquarii (ι Aqr) is 2.8° to the lower left of the Jovian Giant.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Saturn – nearly 18° above the southeast horizon – is 1.5° to the upper right of θ Cap. Jupiter (m = −2.2) – over 13° up in the east-southeast – is 13.9° to the lower left of Saturn. In the starfield, Jupiter is 3.3° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi, 0.4° to the lower left of μ Cap, and 2.8° to the upper right of Iota Aquarii (ι Aqr, m = 4.3). Use a binocular to find the starry background and to observe Jupiter’s eastward trek compared to it. In six mornings, Jupiter crosses into Aquarius. Twenty minutes after sunset, Venus (m = −3.9) is making its first naked-eye evening appearance. This prediction is from factors described by Jean Meeus’ book, Mathematical Astronomy Morsels. Find it about 2° up in the west-northwest. In a darker sky, forty minutes later, the moon (8.0d, 48%) is over two-thirds of the way up in the southwest. It is 5.0° to the lower left of Pollux. The half-full moon, Pollux, and Castor (α Gem, m = 1.6) are in a line. Meanwhile, farther west, Mars is about 40° up in the west. It is 4.6° 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.