April 22, 2021: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter approaches the Capricornus Aquarius border, while Saturn is near the star Theta Capricorni.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:59 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:40 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The sun is rising before 6 a.m. CDT in Chicago. Because it is far east in the time zone, sunrise occurs earlier than places farther west in the zone. In Omaha, Nebraska, the sun rises over 35 minutes later than Chicago’s sunrise time this morning.
The bright morning planets are in the southeast before sunrise.
Bright Jupiter is the brightest “star” in the region. One hour before sunrise, the planet is 14.0° above the east-southeast horizon. Saturn is 14.3° to the upper right of the Jovian Giant.
In the starfield, Jupiter is 3.7° to the upper right of Deneb Algiedi (δ Cap on the chart), 0.9° to the lower left of Mu Capricorni (μ Cap), and 2.3° to the upper right of Iota Aquarii (ι Aqr). In three mornings, the planet moves into Aquarius.
Saturn is slowly moving toward Theta Capricorni (θ Cap). The gap this morning is 2.3°. The Ringed Wonder is to the upper right of the star.
Use a binocular to spot the stars with the planets.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Jupiter is 14.0° above the east-southeast horizon. Use a binocular to find the nearby background stars. Jupiter is 3.7° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi, 0.9° to the lower left of μ Cap, and 2.3° to the upper right of ι Aqr. The gap between Jupiter and Saturn continues to widen as Jupiter moves faster eastward than the Ringed Wonder. This morning Saturn – over 18° up in the southeast – is 14.3° to the upper right of Jupiter. Saturn is 1.3° to the upper right of θ Cap. Twenty minutes after sunset, Venus is over 2° up in the west-northwest. Have you spotted it? As the sky darkens further, the moon (11.0d, 78%) is about two-thirds of the way up in the sky above the south-southeast horizon. It is 8.5° to the lower left of Regulus. Use a binocular to spot the star Rho Leonis (ρ Leo, m = 3.8), 4.7° to the lower right of the moon. Mars is farther westward, less than 40° above the west horizon, and 4.6° to the lower right of Propus. Use a binocular to spot the Red Planet, 2.5° to the lower right of the star cluster M35.
Read more about the planets during April 2021.
- 2023, December 26: Cold Moon, Venus, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 26, 2023: The Cold Moon is visible during the nighttime hours. Venus shines before sunrise while Jupiter and Saturn are visible after sundown.
- 2023, December 25: Telescope First Light, Bright PlanetsDecember 25, 2023: For sky watchers with new telescopes, here’s what to look at before dawn or after sunset.
- 2023, December 24: Morning Moon, Pleiades, Antares Heliacal RisingDecember 24, 2023: The moon appears near the Pleiades star cluster during the earlier morning hours. Antares is at its first morning appearance, known as the heliacal rising.
- 2023, December 23: Check out Planet Uranus, Pleiades near MoonDecember 23, 2023: Look for the planet Uranus and the Pleiades star cluster through a binocular during nighttime hours.
- 2023, December 22: Mercury at Inferior Conjunction, Bright Jupiter, Gibbous MoonDecember 22, 2023: Mercury is between Earth and Sun, known as inferior conjunction. Jupiter and the gibbous moon are celestial companions during nighttime hours.