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.
May 13, 2021: Venus, Mercury, the crescent moon, and Mars are in the western sky after sunset.
May 13, 2021: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are the morning planets in the southeast before sunrise.
May 12, 2021: Thirty minutes after sunset, the razor-thin moon is 1.2° to the left of brilliant Venus. This is the closest grouping of the moon and Venus during this evening appearance of the brilliant planet. Mercury is 9.1° to the upper left of Venus. Mars maintains its eastward march in Gemini. Sirius and Aldebaran are near their heliacal settings, their final appearances in the evening sky for the year.
May 12, 2021: Before sunrise bright Jupiter, in front of Aquarius, is in the southeast before sunrise. Saturn is to the upper right of Jupiter, in Capricornus. In a few mornings, Saturn begins to retrograde.
May 11, 2021: The planet parade continues today. Five planets are on display. Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. After sundown, brilliant Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in the western sky. The moon is at its New phase and at apogee today.