May 3, 2021: The slightly gibbous moon is near Saturn this morning before sunrise. The lunar orb is 6.8° to the lower right of the Ringed Wonder. Jupiter is to the lower left of Saturn.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:44 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:52 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
During a 24-hour interval, five planets and the moon are visible. This morning the slightly gibbous moon is a guide to the morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn. (The moon reaches its Last Quarter phase later today, 2:50 p.m. CDT.)
Venus, Mercury, and Mars are visible in the western sky after sunset.
An hour before sunrise, the lunar orb is over 18° above the south-southeast horizon. Two bright “stars” are to the moon’s upper left.
Saturn is the one closer to the moon, 6.8° to the moon’s upper left.
Brighter Jupiter is 15.5° to the lower left of Saturn.
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (21.3d, 54%) is over 18° above the south-southeast horizon. The lunar slice is 6.8° to the lower right of Saturn. Bright Jupiter is 15.5° to the lower left of Saturn. In the starfield, Saturn is 0.9° to the right of θ Cap, while Jupiter is 1.3° above ι Aqr. The moon is at its Last Quarter phase at 2:50 p.m. CDT. Twenty minutes after sunset, Venus is nearly 5° above the west-northwest horizon. Have you observed it without a binocular? Mercury (m = −0.9) is 6.4° to the upper left of Venus. This might be the last evening to see Rigel, “Orion’s left knee,” (β Ori, m = 0.2), without optical assistance near the horizon about 40 minutes after sunset. Forty-five minutes after sunset, Mercury is nearly 7° up in the west-northwest, 2.1° to the lower left of η Tau. Fifteen minutes later, Mercury is only 4° above the horizon. Mars is over 36° to the upper left of Mercury and below the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. In the starfield, Mars is 2.4° to the upper right of μ Gem and 3.0° to the lower right of ε Gem.
Read more about the planets during May 2021.
- 2023, December 26: Cold Moon, Venus, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 26, 2023: The Cold Moon is visible during the nighttime hours. Venus shines before sunrise while Jupiter and Saturn are visible after sundown.
- 2023, December 25: Telescope First Light, Bright PlanetsDecember 25, 2023: For sky watchers with new telescopes, here’s what to look at before dawn or after sunset.
- 2023, December 24: Morning Moon, Pleiades, Antares Heliacal RisingDecember 24, 2023: The moon appears near the Pleiades star cluster during the earlier morning hours. Antares is at its first morning appearance, known as the heliacal rising.
- 2023, December 23: Check out Planet Uranus, Pleiades near MoonDecember 23, 2023: Look for the planet Uranus and the Pleiades star cluster through a binocular during nighttime hours.
- 2023, December 22: Mercury at Inferior Conjunction, Bright Jupiter, Gibbous MoonDecember 22, 2023: Mercury is between Earth and Sun, known as inferior conjunction. Jupiter and the gibbous moon are celestial companions during nighttime hours.