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.
October 23, 2021: This morning the bright moon is near the Pleiades star cluster. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. In the evening sky, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are easy to spot.
October 22. 2021: Speedy Mercury is low in the east before sunrise. It is putting on its best morning performance of the year. Arcturus, in the east-northeast, is about the same altitude as Mercury.
October 21-November 1, 2021: Brilliant Venus steps through Ophiuchus to the upper left of the star Antares in the southwest after sunset . Afterward, the planet steps farther eastward.
October 21, 2021: The bright moon is low in the west about an hour before sunrise. Mercury is in the east at about the same altitude as Arcturus. Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter shine from the evening sky.
December 18, 2021: This is the anticipated launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most sophisticated space telescope view the universe.