2021, July 21: Moon, Teapot

July 21, 2021:  The bright moon is to the upper right of the Teapot of Sagittarius.  Use a binocular to see the dimmer stars with the lunar orb.

2021, July 21: The bright moon is to the upper right of Sagittarius.
Chart Caption – 2021, July 21: The bright moon is to the upper right of Sagittarius.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:34 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:19 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

The Venus – Regulus conjunction occurs this evening in the western sky.

The bright moon is in the southern sky after sunset.  Approaching its Full moon phase, the lunar orb is to the upper right of the Teapot of Sagittarius.  Like the Big Dipper in Ursa Major – the Great Bear – the Teapot is part of Sagittarius, the Archer.

Sagittarius is a Centaur, part human and part horse.  In artwork, the figure is preparing to launch an arrow.  The stars’ names indicates this depiction.

With the bright moon in the region, use a binocular to see the Teapot.

This evening the moon is 4.2° to the upper right of Kaus Borealis – “the northern part of the bow” – and 4.2° to the upper left of Alnasl – “the point of the arrow.”  Kaus Media is “the middle of the bow,” while Kaus Australis marks “the southern part of the bow.”

The center of the galaxy is behind the stars of Sagittarius.  Interstellar dust blocks our view of that part of the sky.

In about a week when the moon is away from this part of the sky, use the binocular to see star clusters and softly glowing clouds of gas.

Detailed Daily Note: One hour before sunrise, Saturn, retrograding in Capricornus, is over 19° up in the southwest, 3.1° to the lower right of θ Cap.  Bright Jupiter, retrograding in Aquarius, is 19.6° to the upper left of Saturn.  In the starfield, Jupiter is 1.9° to the upper left of ι Aqr, 4.7° below θ Aqr, and 4.9° to the lower right of σ Aqr. Thirty minutes later, Mercury (m = −1.2) is over 4° up in the east-northeast. While the planet is bright and it is very low in the sky at this time interval before sunrise, it is lower each morning.  For this apparition, we say “Goodbye” to the speedy planet.  What is the last morning that you see it? The moon is at perigee at 5:24 a.m. CDT (226,526.9 miles). Forty-five minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is over 8° above the west-northwest horizon.  It is 1.0° to the upper right of Regulus.  Mars is 4.9° to the lower right of Venus. The trio fits into a binocular’s field of view.  One hour after sunset, the bright moon (12.0d, 94%), in the southern sky, is above the Teapot of Sagittarius and 4.2° to the upper right of Kaus Borealis (λ Sgr, m = 2.8) at the top of the Teapot’s lid.  Use a binocular to see the dimmer stars near the moon. Saturn rises 36 minutes after sunset as it approaches its opposition with the sun on August 2.  Venus and Jupiter are at opposition this evening.  They are 180° apart in ecliptic longitude.  In about a week, begin looking for them in the sky at the same time, Venus low in the west-northwest and Jupiter in the east-southeast. As midnight approaches, the moon is over 20° up in the south.  Farther eastward, Saturn is nearly 24° above the south-southeast horizon, while Jupiter, over 19° up in the southeast, is to the Ring Wonder’s lower left.

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