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.
- 2023, December 26: Cold Moon, Venus, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 26, 2023: The Cold Moon is visible during the nighttime hours. Venus shines before sunrise while Jupiter and Saturn are visible after sundown.
- 2023, December 25: Telescope First Light, Bright PlanetsDecember 25, 2023: For sky watchers with new telescopes, here’s what to look at before dawn or after sunset.
- 2023, December 24: Morning Moon, Pleiades, Antares Heliacal RisingDecember 24, 2023: The moon appears near the Pleiades star cluster during the earlier morning hours. Antares is at its first morning appearance, known as the heliacal rising.
- 2023, December 23: Check out Planet Uranus, Pleiades near MoonDecember 23, 2023: Look for the planet Uranus and the Pleiades star cluster through a binocular during nighttime hours.
- 2023, December 22: Mercury at Inferior Conjunction, Bright Jupiter, Gibbous MoonDecember 22, 2023: Mercury is between Earth and Sun, known as inferior conjunction. Jupiter and the gibbous moon are celestial companions during nighttime hours.