April 29, 2021: The bright moon is in the southwest before sunrise, near the star Antares. The morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast. The planets are 15.0° apart.
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.
Daylight is approaching 14 hours at this latitude. Today it is 2 minutes short of that length.
The bright moon, over 90% illuminated, is low in the south-southwest, near Antares, “the rival of Mars.” The lunar orb is 3.7° above the star.
Farther eastward, bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast.
Jupiter is the brightest “star” in the sky. The gap between the two planets is 15.0°. The gap has widened since their great conjunction at the winter solstice in 2020. The planets have not been this far apart late since December in 2019.
Jupiter is to the upper left of Deneb Algiedi, “the kid’s tail,” (δ Cap on the chart).
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.