April 23, 2021: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is the brightest “star” in the region. Saturn is to the Jovian Giant’s upper right.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:58 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:41 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Both planets are brighter than all the stars in the region. Jupiter is much brighter than Saturn.
Saturn is 19.0° up in the southeast, 1.3° to the upper right of the star Theta Capricorni (θ Cap on the chart).
Bright Jupiter is 14.4° to the lower left of Saturn. Your fist – from thumb knuckle to pinky finger – covers about 10° in the sky. The planets are easily seen when your arm is extended and held against the sky between the two worlds.
In the starfield, Jupiter is 3.8° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi (δ Cap), 1.0° to the lower left of Mu Capricorni (μ Cap), and 2.2° to the upper right of Iota Aquarii (ι Aqr).
Use a binocular to track the motion of Jupiter against the three stars and compare it to Saturn’s eastward trek contrasted to Theta Capricorni.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Saturn is 19.0° up in the southeast, 1.3° to the upper right of Theta Capricorni (θ Cap). Jupiter is 14.4° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder. In the starfield, Jupiter is 3.8° to the upper left of Dene Algiedi, 1.0° to the lower left of μ Cap and 2.2° to the upper right of ι Aqr. Twenty minutes after sunset, Venus is nearly 3° up in the west-northwest. Mercury (m = −1.8) – less than 2° in altitude – is 1.9° to the lower right of Venus. Find a clear horizon. As the sky darkens further, find Mars 39.0° up in the west, 1.8° to the right of 1 Geminorum (1 Gem, m = 4.2) and 4.1° to the lower right of Propus. Under bright moonlight use a binocular to spot the star cluster M35, 1.9° to the upper left of Mars. Farther eastward, the moon (12.0d, 87%) is nearly 50° up in the southeast. It is 7.5° to the lower right of Denebola (β Leo, m = 2.1).
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.