2021, April 21: Morning Planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Capricornus

April 21, 2021: Jupiter and Saturn are the bright morning planets in the southeast before sunrise.  The stars are in front of the backdrop of Capricornus.  The constellation looks like an oversized boomerang or stealth fighter.

2021, April 21: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeast before sunrise in front of the starry background of Capricornus.
Chart Caption – 2021, April 21: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeast before sunrise in front of the starry background of Capricornus.

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.

Bright Jupiter and Saturn shine from the southeastern sky before sunrise.  Saturn is over 18° above the horizon.  It continues its eastward trek in Capricornus, 1.4° to the upper right of Theta Capricorni (θ Cap in the chart).  Use a binocular to see the stars with this giant planet duo.

Bright Jupiter is over 14° to the lower left of Saturn.  It is the brightest “star” in the region.  In the starfield, it is 3.6° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi (δ Cap), 0.7° to the lower left of Mu Capricorni (μ Cap), and 2.5° to the upper right of ι Aqr.

Capricornus represents a celestial mutant, part fish and part goat.  It is sometimes referred to as the “Sea goat.”

The constellations is part of a set of three constellations associated with water, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces, that form a backdrop for the apparent motions of the sun, moon, and planets.

The pattern is made of dimmer stars, that make a distinct shape that could be an oversized boomerang or stealth airplane.

The four brightest stars and the meanings of their name:

  • Algiedi – “the kid”
  • Dabih – “the lucky star of the sacrifice or slaughterer”
  • Nashira – “the lucky star of the verdant fields at the end of summer”
  • Deneb Algiedi – “the kid’s tail.”

The meanings of the star names are from 1944 article by George Davis, Jr.

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.

RECENT ARTICLES

2022, June 24: The waning crescent moon.

2022, July 26: Morning Venus, Crescent Moon, Evening Dragon

July 26, 2022: The crescent moon makes a spectacular artistic display with Venus before sunrise. Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn arc across the sky above Venus. Draco is in the north after twilight ends.

Keep reading
Venus and crescent Moon, November 12, 2020

2022, July 25: Moon Nears Venus, Planet Parade Begins After Sundown

July 25, 2022: The thin crescent moon is nearly caught between the Bull’s horns before daybreak.  The four bright planets – Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn – nearly span the sky before daybreak.

Keep reading
The moon, January 15, 2021

2022, July 24: Morning Crescent, Planet Parade

July 24, 2022: A thin crescent moon is in the eastern sky this morning, along with the planet parade that includes Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Keep reading


Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: