April 25, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter is in front of the stars of Aquarius, while Saturn’s starry background is Capricornus.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:55 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:43 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Morning planets, bright Jupiter and Saturn, are low in the southeast before sunrise.
One hour before sunup, Jupiter is 15.0° above the east-southeast horizon. The planet has moved into Aquarius. The stars in the constellation are dimmer than most and not easily visible in locations with streetlights.
Jupiter is moving eastward. Use a binocular to see the planet against the starry background. This morning, Jupiter is 4.1° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi (δ Cap on the chart), 1.4° to the lower left of Mu Capricorni (μ Cap), and 2.0° to the upper right of Iota Aquarii (ι Aqr).
Dimmer than Jupiter, Saturn is 14.6° to the upper right of the Jovian Giant. The Ringed Wonder is slowly moving eastward near the star Theta Capricorni (θ Cap). Use a binocular to see the star with the planet.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Jupiter is 15.0° above the east-southeast horizon. It is now in Aquarius. Among the stars, it is 4.1° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi, 1.4° to the lower left of μ Cap, and 2.0° to the upper right of ι Aqr. Saturn is 14.6° to the upper right of brighter Jupiter. It is slowly approaching θ Cap. This morning the gap is 1.2°. Twenty minutes after sunset, Venus is over 3° up in the west-northwest. Mercury (m = −1.6) passes 1.2° to the upper right of the brilliant planet. Both planets might be visible to the unaided eye. As the sky darkens further, Mars is less than 40° in altitude above the west horizon. It is 1.6° to the upper right of 1 Gem and 3.1° to the lower right of Propus. In this bright moonlight, use a binocular to spot the star cluster M35, 0.8° to the upper left of Mars. The moon (14.0d, 98%) – less than one-third of the way up in the sky above the east-southeast horizon – is 6.1° to the upper left of Spica.
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.