April 29, 2021: Evening Star Venus and bright Mercury are in the west-northwest during bright twilight. As the sky darkens, Mars is at the feet of Gemini in the western sky. Through a binocular the Red Planet is above the star cluster Messier 35.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:49 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:47 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Vega, “the falling eagle,” rises at sunset. An hour later, the bright star is low in the northeast. Find it higher in the northeastern sky later during the evening hours.
Vega is the third brightest star, after Sirius and Arcturus, visible from the mid-northern latitudes. Sirius is low in the west-southeast after sunset, while Arcturus is high in the eastern sky at this hour.
Brilliant Venus is seemingly on a slow track into the evening sky. Mercury is beginning its best appearance in the evening sky for the year.
Both are visible during bright twilight in the west-northwest. Twenty minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is over 4° above the horizon. An elevated spot makes it easier to find the planet. Use a binocular to initially locate the bright world. Mercury is 3.7° above Venus and within the field of view of the binocular.
Read more about Venus in our summary document.
An hour after sunset, Mars is at the feet of Gemini, over 36° up in the western sky. The Red Planet is 2.3° to the upper right of Propus, “the projecting foot,” (η Gem on the chart) and 2.7° to the right of Tejat Posterior, “the heel,” (μ Gem).
Mars continues its eastward march through Gemini.
Mars is now past the star cluster Messier 35, but both are still within the same binocular field of view. The planet is 1.8° to the upper left of the cluster.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
Read about Mars during April.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (17.3d, 92%) is over 20° above the south-southwest horizon. The lunar orb is 3.7° above Antares. Farther eastward, Saturn is over 20° above the southeast horizon. It is 1.0° to the upper right of θ Cap. Jupiter is 15.0° to the lower left of Saturn. The Jovian Giant is 4.6° to the left of Deneb Algiedi, 2.0° to the lower left of μ Cap, and 1.6° to the upper right of ι Aqr. The gap between Jupiter and Saturn has not been this wide since late December 2019, when Jupiter was near its solar conjunction and Saturn was setting about 70 minutes after sunset. Vega (α Lyr, m = 0.0) rises at sunset. Twenty minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is over 4° above the west-northwest horizon. Mercury (m = −1.2) is 3.7° above Venus. One hour after sunset, Mars is over 36° above the western horizon in front of the starry background of Gemini. In the starfield, the Red Planet is 2.3° to the upper right of Propus and 2.7° to the right of Tejat Posterior. Still in the view of a binocular, the star cluster M35 is 1.8° to the lower right of the planet.
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.