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.
May 13, 2021: Venus, Mercury, the crescent moon, and Mars are in the western sky after sunset.
May 13, 2021: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are the morning planets in the southeast before sunrise.
May 12, 2021: Thirty minutes after sunset, the razor-thin moon is 1.2° to the left of brilliant Venus. This is the closest grouping of the moon and Venus during this evening appearance of the brilliant planet. Mercury is 9.1° to the upper left of Venus. Mars maintains its eastward march in Gemini. Sirius and Aldebaran are near their heliacal settings, their final appearances in the evening sky for the year.
May 12, 2021: Before sunrise bright Jupiter, in front of Aquarius, is in the southeast before sunrise. Saturn is to the upper right of Jupiter, in Capricornus. In a few mornings, Saturn begins to retrograde.
May 11, 2021: The planet parade continues today. Five planets are on display. Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. After sundown, brilliant Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in the western sky. The moon is at its New phase and at apogee today.