May 28, 2021: This morning, one hour before sunrise, the bright gibbous moon is near the Teapot of Sagittarius. Farther eastward, Jupiter is moving eastward in front of the stars of Aquarius. Saturn is retrograding in Capricornus.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:20 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:16 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
One hour before sunup, the bright moon, 95% illuminated, is low in the south-southwest, above the spout of the Teapot of Sagittarius. The stars are dim and a binocular may be necessary to see the starry background.
The lunar orb is 2.7° to the lower right of Kaus Borealis– “the northern part of the bow” – (λ Sgr on the chart) and 3.5° to the upper right of Kaus Media (δ Sgr), “the middle part of the bow.”
As the star names indicate, the centaur was portrayed as an archer.
Farther eastward, the bright morning planets are in the southeastern sky. Jupiter is moving eastward in Aquarius.
Saturn, brighter than all the stars this morning except for Jupiter, Arcturus, and Vega, is 17.8° to the upper right of the Jovian Giant. The Ringed Wonder it retrograding in Aquarius.
This evening, Mercury passes 0.4° from Venus. Look in the west-northwest after sunset.
Articles and Summaries.
- Venus as an Evening Star
- Venus Evening Star (Summary)
- Mercury during May 2021
- Mars during 2021 (Summary)
- Mars during May 2021
- Planets during May 2021
Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the bright moon (16.6d, 95%) is over 18° above the south-southwest horizon. It is above the spout of the Teapot of Sagittarius, 2.7° to the lower right of Kaus Borealis (λ Sgr, m = 2.8) and 3.5° to the upper right of Kaus Media (δ Sgr, m = 2.7). Use a binocular to see the stars. Farther eastward, bright Jupiter is over 27° above the southeast horizon. It is moving eastward in Aquarius. With the bright moonlight, use a binocular to spot the starfield. Jupiter is 2.6° to the upper left of ι Aqr, 4.2° to the lower right of θ Aqr, and 4.3° to the upper right of σ Aqr. Saturn, retrograding in Capricornus, is 17.8° to the upper right of Jupiter and 0.6° to the right of θ Cap. This evening a very close conjunction occurs with Venus and Mercury. The separation is 24’. The next conjunction closer than this one occurs November 5, 2033, when the planets are 23’ apart. About 30 Venus – Mercury conjunctions occur in the interim, but this is the closest visible to the unaided eye. A very close conjunction (13’) occurs on March 27, 2029, but the planets are near their superior conjunctions (Venus, March 23; Mercury, March 26). Venus is 1.6° south of the sun. This evening, begin looking for the conjunction with a binocular, about 30 minutes after sunset. Brilliant Venus is over 8° above the west-northwest horizon. Mercury (m = 2.3) is to the lower left of Venus. Fifteen minutes later, the pair is about 5° above the horizon. Spot Elnath, 4.9° to the upper right of Venus. At this hour, Mars is over 25° up in the west. One hour after sunset, the conjunction is over 3° above the west-northwest horizon. Higher in the western sky, Mars is marching eastward in Gemini. It is 3.8° to the upper left of δ Gem, 2.8° to the lower right of κ Gem, and 5.6° to the lower left of Pollux. As midnight approaches, the moon (17.4d, 89%) is above the southeast horizon.
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.
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.
June 19, 2021: The waxing moon appears with Spica in the southwestern sky during the early evening hours.
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.
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.