April 28, 2021: This morning the bright moon appears to be caught in the pincers of the Scorpion and near the creature’s forehead. Bright morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:51 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:46 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Daylight is approaching 14 hours at this latitude. Today it is 5 minutes short of that length.
This morning the bright moon is low in the southwest. The moon is trapped within the pincers of the Scorpion, Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, and near Dschubba, “the forehead” of the Scorpion. Antares, “the rival of Mars,” is to the lower left of the lunar orb.
Farther eastward, bright Jupiter is over 16° up in the southeast. It is the brightest “star” in the sky this morning. With the bright moon, use a binocular to view Jupiter against the starry background. The Jovian Giant is 4.5° to the left of Deneb Algiedi, “the kid’s tail” (δ Cap on the chart), 1.8° to the lower left of Mu Capricorni (μ Cap) and 1.7° to the upper right of Iota Aquarii (ι Aqr).
Saturn is nearly 15° to the upper right of Jupiter. The Ringed Wonder is slowly moving eastward compared to the stars. Make observations each morning of the planet with a binocular to note that it is slowly moving toward Theta Capricorni (θ Cap).
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (16.3d, 98%) is nearly 18° up in the southwest. The lunar orb is 7.2° to the right of Dschubba (“the forehead,” δ Sco, m = 2.3). Farther eastward, Jupiter is over 16° above the southeast horizon. In the starfield, it is 4.5° to the left of Deneb Algiedi, 1.8° to the lower left of μ Cap, and 1.7° to the upper right of ι Aqr. Saturn is 14.9° to the upper right of Jupiter. In the starfield, the Ringed Wonder is 1.1° to the upper right of θ Cap. Twenty minutes after sunset, Venus is nearly 3.8° above the west-northwest horizon. Mercury (m = −1.3) is 3.0° above Venus. Have you observed them without a binocular? Mercury continues to dim as its nightly altitude increases. An hour after sunset, Mars is less than 40° up in the west in front of the stars of Gemini. It is 2.3° to the upper right of Propus and 3.1° to the lower right of Tejat Posterior. Use a binocular to observe the star cluster M35, 1.3° below the Red Planet. As midnight approaches, the moon (17.0d, 93%) – 13.0° up in the southeast – is 4.2° to the upper left of Antares (α Sco, m = 1.0).
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.