2021, May 4: Moon Near Jupiter, Saturn

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May 4, 2021: This morning the moon is near Jupiter and Saturn before sunrise.  Look about an hour before sunup.  Bright Jupiter is to the upper left of the thick lunar crescent, while Saturn is to the upper right.

Chart Caption – 2021, May 4: An hour before sunrise, the thick crescent moon is 8.9° to the lower right of bright Jupiter and 9.6° to the lower left of Saturn.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:43 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:53 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.  The moon is visible near Jupiter and Saturn this morning before sunrise.  Brilliant Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in the western evening sky.

This morning, begin looking an hour before sunrise.  The thick waning crescent moon is about 15° up in the southeastern sky. Two “stars” are above the moon.

Bright Jupiter is 8.9° to the upper left of the thick lunar slice.  Saturn, dimmer than Jupiter, is 9.6° to the upper right of the moon.

Like the planets, tomorrow morning the moon moves farther eastward.  The planets’ eastward steps are much smaller than the moon’s motion.

While the moon takes slightly over 27 days to make one circuit of the sky compared to the stars, Jupiter’s journey is nearly 12 years long and Saturn’s tour of the stars is 29.5 years.

This evening, look for Venus, Mercury, Mars.

Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (22.3d, 48%) is over 15° above the southeastern horizon.  Bright Jupiter is 8.9° to the moon’s upper left, while Saturn is 9.6° to the upper right of the lunar orb.  In the starfield, Saturn is 0.9° to the right of θ Cap.  Jupiter is 1.3° above ι Aqr.  Twenty minutes after sunset, Venus is nearly 5° up in the west-northwest.  Mercury (m = −0.8) is 6.9° to the upper left of Venus.  Mercury sets about 90 minutes after sunset.  As the sky darkens it is lower in the sky above the west-northwest horizon.  By 30 minutes after sunset, Venus is nearly 4° above the horizon, while Mercury is 10.0° up in the sky.  Forty-five minutes after sunset, Mercury is over 7° in altitude and 4.4° to the upper left of η Tau.  By one hour after sunset, Mercury is about 5° above the horizon.  At this hour, Mars is visible over 35° to the upper left of Mercury among the stars of Gemini.  The Red Planet is 2.6° to the upper right of μ Gem and 3.2° to the lower right of ε Gem.

Read more about the planets during May 2021.

2021, May 12: Spectacular Venus-Moon Grouping

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.

2021, May 12: Morning Planets Jupiter, Saturn

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.

2021, May 11: Planets March On

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.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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