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.
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.