2021, May 27: Bright Morning Moon, Planets

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May 27, 2021: The bright moon is in the west this morning, near the star Antares.  Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.

Chart Caption – The night portion of the moon is gently illuminated by sunlight reflected from Earth’s oceans, land, and clouds.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:21 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:16 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

If you sleep in a south-facing room, bright moonlight likely streamed through the curtains last night and softly illuminated your room.  Outside the moonlight easily cast shadows of terrestrial features.

The bright, moonlit landscape we experience when the moon is near its full phases is like what we see on the moon when it displays its crescent phases.  The earthshine reflects from Earth’s oceans, land, and clouds to lightly illuminate the lunarscapes.

Chart Caption – 2021, May 27: One hour before sunrise, the bright moon is 9.3° to the upper left of Antares in the southwest.

This morning one hour before sunrise, the moon is low in the southwest, 9.3° to the upper left of Antares.

Chart Caption – 2021, May 27: Bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are in the southeast before sunrise. The star Fomalhaut is near the horizon.

Farther eastward, Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southeast.  Jupiter is trekking eastward in Aquarius, while Saturn is retrograding in Capricornus.

The star below Jupiter and near the horizon is Fomalhaut.

Articles and Summaries.

Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the bright moon (15.6d, 99%) is over 14° above the southwest horizon, 9.3° to the upper left of Antares.  Farther eastward, Saturn is less than one-third of the way up in the south-southeast.  Saturn is slowly retrograding in Capricornus, 0.6° to the right of θ Cap.  Saturn reversed its direction less than a week ago. Jupiter, moving eastward in Aquarius, is 17.7° to the lower left of Saturn. The Jovian Giant is the brightest “star’ in the region.  With the moon’s brightness, use a binocular to see this giant planet pair against the distant stars.  This morning, Jupiter is 2.5° to the lower left of ι Aqr, 4.2° to the lower right of θ Aqr, and 4.4° to the upper right of σ Aqr.  Sirius sets at sunset (With the star’s setting time changing 4 minutes each evening and the sun’s setting time changes a minute each day, this is the date with the shortest interval between sunset and star set, 2 minutes). During the early evening, Venus, Mercury, and Mars line up along a diagonal line.  Begin looking with a binocular about 30 minutes after sunset.  Brilliant Venus is nearly 8° up in the west-northwest.  Mercury (m = 2.0) is 1.2° to the upper left of Venus.  Fifteen minutes later, Venus is over 5° up, while Mercury is over 6° above the west-northwest horizon.  Note that Venus is 4.6° to the lower left of Elnath.  At this hour Mars is less than one-third of the way up in the west in front of the stars of Gemini.  By one hour after sunset, Venus is 3.0° up in the sky, while Mercury is about 4° in altitude.  In the darker sky, note that Mars is between δ Gem and κ Gem.  The Red Planet is 2.7° to the upper left of δ Gem, 3.3° to the lower right of κ Gem, and 5.8° to the lower left of Pollux.  Three hours after sunset, the moon (16.4d, 95%) is nearly 8° above the southeast horizon.

2021 – 2022, Venus – Mars Triple Conjunction

During 2021 into 2022, Venus passes Mars three times for a triple conjunction.  The first occurs on July 12, 2021.  The others occur during early 2022, followed by a close approach of the two planets.

2021, July 6: Venus – Saturn Opposition

July 6, 2021:  This is the second bright planet – planet opposition this month.  Venus and Saturn are in opposite directions from Earth.  Venus sets about the time that Saturn rises.  After this date, Venus and Saturn together are in the evening sky until early 2022.

2021, June 26 – June 30: Bright Moon, Morning Planets

June 26 – June 30, 2021:  The bright gibbous moon passes Jupiter and Saturn in the morning sky before sunrise.  Observe that the moon is in a different spot each morning, farther east toward the impending sunrise.

2021, June 15: Moon, Sickle of Leo

June 15, 2021:  The moon is with the Sickle of Leo this evening.  Step outside about an hour after sunset to find the crescent moon that is about 30% illuminated over one-third of the way up in the west.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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