April 21, 2021: Evening Star is making its first appearance in the west-northwest shortly after sunset. The gibbous moon is near Leo, while Mars is near the foot of Castor.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:01 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:39 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Venus is emerging from the bright glare of the sun, but continues to be a challenge to see. It is very low in the west-northwest about 20 minutes after sunset. Try to observe the planet with a binocular to locate it and then attempt to find it without optical help.
Read more about Venus in our summary document.
One hour after sunset, the bright moon is over two-thirds of the way up in the south. The lunar orb is to the right of the Sickle of Leo. In the starfield, it 7.5° to the right of Algieba, “the forehead” and 7.6° to the upper right of Regulus.
Mars is farther west, less than halfway up in the sky above the west horizon. The Red Planet is in front of the stars of Gemini. It is 5.1° to the lower right of Propus, “the projecting foot” (η Gem on the chart).
Mars is approaching the star cluster Messier 35 (M35), a distant star cluster like that of the Pleiades star cluster and Hyades star cluster.
Use a binocular to see Mars, Propus, and the star cluster together. Mars passes the star cluster in less than a week.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during April.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Saturn is over 18° above the southeast horizon and 1.4° to the upper right of θ Cap. Jupiter – 14.2° to the lower left of Saturn – is nearly 14° up in the east-southeast. In the starfield, Jupiter is 3.6° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi, 0.7° to the lower left of μ Cap, and 2.5° to the upper right of ι Aqr. Use a binocular to note the changing position of Jupiter compared to the sidereal background. Twenty minutes after sunset, Venus is over 2° above the west-northwest horizon. In a darker sky forty minutes later, the moon (10.0d, 68%) is over two-thirds of the way up in the sky above the southern horizon. It is 7.5° to the right of Algieba (“the forehead,” γ Leo, m = 2.0) and 7.6° to the upper right of Regulus. In the west about 40° up in the sky, Mars is 3.1° to the lower right of the star cluster M35 and 5.1° to the lower right of Propus (“the projecting foot,” η Gem, m = 3.3). This trio of celestial treasures and other nearby background stars easily fit into the view of wide-field binocular.
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.