2021, April 20: Bright Jupiter, Saturn, Morning Planets

April 20, 2021: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise, gently moving eastward compared to the starry backdrop of Capricornus.

2021, April 20: Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise, with Capricornus as the starry background.
Chart – Caption – 2021, April 20: Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise, with Capricornus as the starry background.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:02 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:38 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Morning Sky

Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.  One hour before sunrise, Jupiter is over 13° above the east-southeast horizon.  It is the brightest star in the region, and it outshines all other stars in the sky this morning.

Look at Jupiter with a binocular, you can see up to four of its largest satellites.  The binocular also reveals the starry background.  The Jovian Giant is 3.4° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi (δ Cap on the chart), 0.5° to the lower left of Mu Capricorni (μ Cap) and 2.6° to the upper right of Iota Aquarii (ι Aqr).  Jupiter is nearing the Aquarius – Capricornus border.

Saturn is dimmer than Jupiter, and 14.1° to the upper right of Jupiter.  The Ringed Wonder is slowly inching toward Theta Capricorni (θ Cap.)

Detailed Note: The moon is at its First Quarter phase at 1:59 a.m. CDT.  One hour before sunrise, Jupiter is over 13° above the east-southeast horizon.  In the starfield, Jupiter is 3.4° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi, 0.5° to the lower left of μ Cap, and 2.6° to the upper right of ι Aqr.  Saturn – 14.1° to the upper right of Jupiter – is 1.5° to the upper right of θ Cap.  The Ringed Wonder is 18.0° up in the southeast.  Twenty minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is nearly 2° above the west-northwest horizon as it makes its first evening appearance. An hour after sunset, Mars is about 40° up in the west, 5.0° to the upper right of ζ Tau. The Red Planet is 3.7° to the lower right of M35.  Use a binocular to see the star cluster.  The moon (9.0d, 58%) is nearly 70° up in the south-southwest.  It is between Pollux and Regulus (α Leo, m = 1.3), nearly 17° to the lower left of Pollux and 20° to the upper right of Regulus.  Even with the moon’s brightness, use a binocular to spot the Beehive star cluster (M44, NGC 2632), 3.9° to the lower right of the moon.

Read more about the planets during April 2021.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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