April 27, 2021: Evening Star Venus and Mercury climb into the evening sky in the west-northwest after sunset. In a darker sky, Mars marches eastward in Gemini, near the feet of the Twins. Look for the moon caught in the pincers of the Scorpion.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:52 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:45 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Venus continues its slow climb into the evening sky, as Mercury is enroute to its best evening appearance of the year. Find them low in the west-northwest 20 minutes after sunset. At this time, Venus is about 4° above the horizon. Mercury, about the brightest of Sirius, is 2.3° above Venus. First find them with a binocular. Can you see them without optical aid?
Read more about Venus in our summary document.
As the sky darkens further, Venus and Mercury set. By an hour after sunset, Mars is less than 40° up in the west, among the stars of Gemini. Not as bright as it was at the beginning of the year, Mars continues its eastward march against the distant starry background.
This evening, Mars is 2.5° to the upper right of Propus, “the projecting foot” (η Gem on the chart) and 3.6° to the lower right of Tejat Posterior, “the heel,” (μ Gem).
Before the moon rises, use a binocular to spot Mars 0.8° to the upper right of the star cluster Messier 35 (M35).
By two hours after sunset, the bright moon is above the horizon in the east-southeast. It seems to be trapped in the Scorpion’s pincers, Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali. These stars are part of Libra today, but their names have retained their names and association to the celestial Scorpion.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during April.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, Saturn is over 20° up in the southeast and 1.1° to the upper right of θ Cap. Brighter Jupiter is 14.8° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder. In the starfield, Jupiter is 4.4° to the left of Deneb Algiedi, 1.7° to the lower left of μ Cap, and 1.7° to the upper right of ι Aqr. The bright moon (15.3d, 100%) is over 14° above the southwest horizon and 4.8° to the right of Zubenelgenubi (α Lib, m = 2.8). The moon is at perifee at 10:22 a.m. CDT (222, 103 miles). Brilliant Venus continues its slow climb into the evening sky. Twenty minutes after sunset, it is less than 4° up in the west-northwest. Mercury (m = −1.4) is 2.3° above Venus. As the sky darkens further, Mars is less than 40° up in the west among the stars of Gemini. It is 2.5° to the upper right of Propus, the and 3.6° to the lower right of Tejat Posterior. Before the moon rises in less than an hour, find the star cluster M35, 0.8° to the lower left of Mars. Two hours after sunset, the moon (16.0d, 98%), 8.4° up in the east-southeast, is trapped in the pincers of the scorpion. The lunar orb is 7.3° to the lower left of Zubenelgenubi and 7.9° to the lower right of Zubeneschamali (β Lib, m = 2.6).
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.