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.
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.
October 23, 2021: This morning the bright moon is near the Pleiades star cluster. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. In the evening sky, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are easy to spot.
October 22. 2021: Speedy Mercury is low in the east before sunrise. It is putting on its best morning performance of the year. Arcturus, in the east-northeast, is about the same altitude as Mercury.
October 21-November 1, 2021: Brilliant Venus steps through Ophiuchus to the upper left of the star Antares in the southwest after sunset . Afterward, the planet steps farther eastward.
October 21, 2021: The bright moon is low in the west about an hour before sunrise. Mercury is in the east at about the same altitude as Arcturus. Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter shine from the evening sky.
December 18, 2021: This is the anticipated launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most sophisticated space telescope view the universe.