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.
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.