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2021, April 23: Jupiter, Saturn, Morning Planets

Jupiter and Saturn, November 2, 2020

Cell Phone photo of Jupiter (lower right) and Saturn, November 2, 2020

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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.

Chart Caption – 2021, April 23: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeast before sunrise. Saturn is 14.4° to the upper right of Saturn.

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.

2021, December 28:  Venus Slips, Mercury Hops

December 28, 2021:  Brilliant Venus is quickly slipping from the evening sky.  Mercury appears beneath Venus after sunset.  This duo is joined by Jupiter and Saturn.  In the morning, Mars is near Antares and the moon near Spica.

2021, December 27:  Mars – Antares Conjunction

December 27, 2021:  The Red Planet Mars passes Antares this morning before sunrise.  At the same hour, the moon is near Spica.  The three bright planets – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – are in the evening sky.

2021, December 21:  Winter Solstice

December 21, 2021:  The winter solstice occurs at 9:59 a.m. CST.  Mars is in the morning sky along with a bright moon.  The planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – is in the southwestern sky after sunset.

2021, December 19-21:  Gemini Moon

December 19, 20, and 21, 2021:  The bright moon leading up to the winter solstice appears in the western sky before sunrise in front of Gemini.

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