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2021, April 19: Bright Jupiter, Saturn, Morning Planets

NASA's image of Saturn

Saturn (NASA)

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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. 

Chart Caption – 2021, April 19: The bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are low in the southeast before sunrise. Use a binocular to see the starfields with the planets.

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.

2021, December 29: Moon Nears Scorpion, Venus Departs

December 29, 2021: The morning crescent moon approaches Scorpius and Mars.  In the evening sky, four evening planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are lined up in the southwest.  Venus is rapidly leaving the evening sky.

2021, December 28:  Venus Slips, Mercury Hops

December 28, 2021:  Brilliant Venus is quickly slipping from the evening sky.  Mercury appears beneath Venus after sunset.  This duo is joined by Jupiter and Saturn.  In the morning, Mars is near Antares and the moon near Spica.

2021, December 27:  Mars – Antares Conjunction

December 27, 2021:  The Red Planet Mars passes Antares this morning before sunrise.  At the same hour, the moon is near Spica.  The three bright planets – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – are in the evening sky.

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