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.
October 23, 2021: This morning the bright moon is near the Pleiades star cluster. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. In the evening sky, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are easy to spot.
October 22. 2021: Speedy Mercury is low in the east before sunrise. It is putting on its best morning performance of the year. Arcturus, in the east-northeast, is about the same altitude as Mercury.
October 21-November 1, 2021: Brilliant Venus steps through Ophiuchus to the upper left of the star Antares in the southwest after sunset . Afterward, the planet steps farther eastward.
October 21, 2021: The bright moon is low in the west about an hour before sunrise. Mercury is in the east at about the same altitude as Arcturus. Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter shine from the evening sky.
December 18, 2021: This is the anticipated launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most sophisticated space telescope view the universe.