July 11, 2021: One evening before the Venus – Mars conjunction, the crescent moon joins the scene. Look in the west-northwest for the Evening Star. The crescent moon is to the right of Venus. Use a binocular to locate Mars to the left of Venus.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:26 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:26 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Today the sun is in the sky for 15 hours. Daylight decreases about 30 minutes by month’s end.
Forty-five minutes after sunset, look for brilliant Venus puncturing the colorful hues of evening twilight. Find the planet low in the west-northwestern sky.
The thin crescent moon, that is only 4% illuminated, is 5.2° to the right of the brilliant planet.
Just one evening before their conjunction, brilliant Venus is 0.5° to the right of the Red Planet. Tomorrow’s conjunction is the first of three conjunctions of the two planets, known as a triple conjunction. The series carries through March 2022.
This evening Venus sets 95 minutes after sunset. From the time of the first observation to Venus setting, the sky darkens enough to see Mars and Regulus without the optical assist from the binocular.
The star Regulus is over 12° to the upper left of Venus. That is less than two binocular fields.
After the Venus – Mars conjunction, Venus passes Regulus on July 21.
Detailed Daily Note: One hour before sunrise, Saturn is nearly 25° above the south-southwest horizon. It is retrograding in Capricornus, 2.4° to the lower right of θ Cap. Saturn is the fourth brightest starlike object this morning. Only Jupiter, Mercury, Arcturus, and Vega are brighter. The Jovian Giant, nearly 36° up in the south and west of the meridian, is 19.7° to the upper left of the Ringed Wonder. Retrograding in Aquarius, Jupiter is 2.6° to the upper left of ι Aqr, 4.2° below θ Aqr, and 4.1° to the lower right of σ Aqr. Fifteen minutes later, look for Mercury (m = −0.4) 5.5° above the east-northeast horizon. One hour after sunset, brilliant Venus is nearly 6° above the west-northwest horizon and 0.9° to the right of Mars. The conjunction of the two planets is tomorrow evening. The crescent moon (2.0d, 4%) adds to the scene, 5.2° to the right of Venus. The next target of Venus’ motion, Regulus, is 12.1° to the upper left of the brilliant planet. Saturn rises 70 minutes after sunset, followed by Jupiter over 50 minutes later. As midnight approaches, Saturn is nearly 20° up in the southeast, while Jupiter is nearly 13° above the east-southeast horizon.
Articles and Summaries
October 9, 2021: Look for brilliant Venus, crescent moon, and the head of Scorpius in the southwest after sunset. About every eight years, Venus and the moon appear near the head of the Scorpion after sunset. Look for them about 45 minutes after sunset.
October 1, 2021: Before sunrise, the lunar crescent is near the Beehive star cluster.
Newly released analysis from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows that the Arabia Terra region on Mars experienced powerful volcanic eruptions.
September 30, 2021: An hour before sunrise, the crescent moon is near the Gemini Twins.
September 29, 2021: The thick crescent moon is in the southeast before sunrise, approaching the middle of Gemini. The evening planet pack is visible after sunset.