2021, May 4: Moon Near Jupiter, Saturn


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.

This striking view of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and turbulent southern hemisphere was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed a close pass of the gas giant planet.

2021, July 26: Evening Sky, Mars Closes In

July 26, 2021:  Four bright planets are in the evening sky.  Mars closes in on Regulus for their conjunction in three evenings.  Brilliant Evening Star Venus appears to the upper left of the impending Mars – Regulus conjunction.  Saturn and Jupiter are low in the southeastern sky after sunset.

2021, July 25: Evening Sky, Mars on Final Approach

July 25, 2021:  Four evenings before its conjunction with Regulus, find Mars in the western sky to the lower right of Venus.  As the calendar day ends, look for the moon below bright Jupiter.

2021, July 24: Four Evening Planets, Moon

July 24, 2021: After sunset, Venus and Mars are in the western sky.  A little later during evening hours, the moon is near Jupiter and Saturn in the southeast.

2021, July 29: Jupiter – Mars Opposition

July 29, 2021:  Jupiter and Mars are 180° apart along the ecliptic.  Dim Mars sets in the west-northwest as Jupiter rises in the east-southeast.  This event signals that soon both appear in the sky simultaneously.

Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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