April 26, 2021: The bright morning moon is in the west-southwest before sunrise. Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast at about one hour before sunrise. Both planets are slowly moving eastward compared to the sidereal background.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:54 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:44 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
This morning the bright moon is about 10° up in the west-southwest. It is 5.0° above Spica. Bright Jupiter is farther east, over 15° above the southeast horizon. The Jovian Giant is trekking eastward in Aquarius.
With a binocular, watch Jupiter’s place change from morning to morning. This morning, the planet is 4.2° to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi, “the kid’s tail,” (δ Cap on the chart), 1.5° to the lower left of Mu Capricorni (μ Cap), and 1.9° to the upper right of Iota Aquarii (ι Aqr).
Saturn is dimmer than Jupiter, but it is brighter than all the other stars in the region. The Ringed Wonder is 14.7° to the upper right of Jupiter.
Saturn rises over 3 hours before sunrise and 40 minutes before Jupiter. By one hour before sunrise, the planet is nearly 20° up in the southeast.
Saturn is gently moving eastward. Each morning, note its place compared to the star Theta Capricorni (θ Cap).
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (14.3d, 99%) is 5.0° above Spica. The lunar orb is 9.6° up in the west-southwest. Farther eastward, Jupiter is 15.4° up in the southeast. Use a binocular to spot the starfield. The Jovian Giant is 4.2° to the left of Deneb Algiedi,1.5° to the lower left of μ Cap, and 1.9° to the upper right of ι Cap. The Jupiter – Saturn gap is 14.7°. Saturn is to the upper right of Jupiter and 1.2° to the upper right of θ Cap. Venus continues to crawl into the evening sky. Find it over 3° above the west-northwest horizon at 20 minutes after sunset. Bright Mercury (m = −1.5) is 1.6° to the upper right of Venus. Can you see them without a binocular? By an hour after sunset, Mars is less than 40° in altitude above the west horizon. The planet is in Gemini, 1.8° to the upper right of 1 Gem and 2.8° to the right of Propus. The Red Planet is also 4.1° to the lower right of Tejat Posterior (μ Gem, m = 2.8). In this bright moonlight, use a binocular to spot the star cluster M35, 0.6° to the left of Mars. Farther east, the nearly Full moon (15.0d, 100%) is over 12° above the east-southeast horizon. The lunar orb is over 13° to the lower left Spica. The moon reaches its Full phase (Pink Moon) at 10:32 p.m. CDT.
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.