May 5, 2021: The crescent moon, bright Jupiter and Saturn lineup in the southeast before sunrise. One hour before sunup, the moon is low in the sky with bright Jupiter to its upper right. Saturn is to the upper right of Jupiter. Jupiter is brighter than all the stars in the sky. Saturn is brighter than the stars in the immediate region after the Jovian Giant.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:42 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:54 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Five planets are visible during a 24-hour interval. Bright Jupiter and Saturn, along with the moon, are visible in the southeastern sky before sunrise.
Step outside about an hour before sunup, the crescent moon, 34% illuminated, is low in the east-southeast. It is nearly 8° to the lower left of bright Jupiter.
Jupiter is slowly moving eastward in Aquarius. If you look at Jupiter through a binocular, it’s possible to see up to four of its largest moons.
Saturn, moving eastward in Capricornus is 15.7° to the upper right of Jupiter.
Over four months ago, Jupiter passed Saturn in their once-in-a-generation great conjunction.
Look for Venus, Mercury, and Mars in the western sky after sunset.
Detailed Note: This morning the crescent moon (23.7d, 34%) is about 12° above the east-southeast horizon. It is 7.5° to the lower left of bright Jupiter. The lunar crescent is 5.2° to the upper right of Skat (“the leg,” δ Aqr, m = 3.2). Jupiter is 1.3° above ι Aqr. Saturn is 15.7° to the upper right of Jupiter in Capricornus. In the starfield, it is 0.8° to the right of θ Cap. Three bright planets are visible after sunset. Thirty minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is nearly 4° above the west-northwest horizon. Mercury (m = −0.7) is 7.4° to the upper left of Venus. Fifteen minutes later, Mercury is over 8° above the west-northwest horizon and 3.6° to the upper left of η Tau. Use a binocular to spot 37 Tauri (37 Tau, m = 4.3) 0.9° to the lower left of Mercury. One hour after sunset, Mercury is about 6° above the horizon. Mars is over one-third of the way up in the west, 3.4° to the upper right of μ Gem and 2.0° to the lower right of ε Gem. Mars is 41.4° of ecliptic longitude east of Venus. Mercury is 34.3° of ecliptic longitude west of the Red Planet.
Read more about the planets during May 2021.
May 28, 2021: This evening Mercury passes brilliant Venus for the second of three conjunctions during this evening apparition of the second planet from the sun. Use a binocular about 45 minutes after sunset to see the speedy planet 0.4° to the lower left of Venus. This is the closest visible conjunction until 2033.
May 24, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. In the evening sky, brilliant Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars line up along the solar system’s plane. The bright moon is in the southeast near Zubenelgenubi, “the southern claw.”
May 23, 2021: Five bright planets parade across the sky. Jupiter and Saturn are visible before sunrise in the southeastern sky. The star Fomalhaut is becoming visible below bright Jupiter and near the horizon. After sundown, Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in the western sky. The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the nighttime hours.
May 22, 2021: Five planets parade across the sky. Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Evening Star Venus, Mercury and Mars are in the western sky after sunset. A bright moon is in the southeastern sky.
May 21, 2021: Three bright planets are dancing in the western sky after sundown. Evening Star Venus is entering the sky for a months-long residency after its solar conjunction two months ago. Mercury is heading for a conjunction with Venus after its best evening appearance of the year. Mars continues its eastward march in Gemini, but time is running out on its appearance as it approaches brighter evening twilight and a conjunction with Venus.