July 29, 2021: In a challenging-to-see conjunction, Mars passes 0.6° to the upper right of the star Regulus.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:42 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:12 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
On this evening of the Jupiter – Mars opposition, Mars passes Regulus.
Mars and Regulus are very low in the west-northwest after sunset. Here’s how to find them with a binocular. Brilliant Venus is the guide to the planets. Step outside about 45 minutes after sunset. On a hilltop, elevated structure, or spot with a clear natural horizon, find brilliant Venus, sparkling in the colorful hues of evening twilight. Venus is to the upper left of the Mars – Regulus conjunction.
Place Venus to the upper left portion of the field of view. Move the binocular to the lower right about one field diameter. Regulus and Mars appear in the view. The conjunction is near the horizon. This a challenging observation to make.
Mars passes Regulus again on July 10, 2023. Coincidentally, Venus is nearby, 4.8° to the lower right of Mars. During this appearance of Venus, it does not pass Mars. Earth’s Twin moves to 3.5° of Mars on June 30 and then moves away. Low in the western sky on July 16, 2023, Venus moves to within 3.5° of Regulus, but the planet does not pass the star. A very close conjunction of Mercury and Regulus occurs on July 28, 2023.
Detailed Daily Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (19.4d, 71%), in front of the stars of Cetus, is over halfway up in the south-southeast. Use a binocular to see Deneb Kaitos, over 18°to the lower right of the lunar orb. Farther west, bright Jupiter, retrograding in Aquarius and over 28° up in the southwest, is 1.3° above ι Aqr. Saturn, 19.4° to the lower right of Jupiter and nearly 14° up in the southwest, is retrograding in Capricornus, 3.6° to the lower right of θ Cap. As the sky darkens after sundown, look for brilliant Venus low in the west. Use a binocular or spotting scope to locate the star Regulus nearly 10° to the lower right of Venus. Mars is 0.6° to the upper right of the star. As Earth rotates, this trio is lower in the sky and a challenge to see the Mars – Regulus conjunction near the horizon. By 45 minutes after sunset, Regulus is only about 3° up in the sky. At this time, Saturn is nearly 6° up in the east-southeast. About 80 minutes after sunset, Venus is only 2° above the western horizon, yet bright enough to be seen without optical aid. Jupiter, in the east-southeast, is about 3° above the horizon. It can be seen at this altitude. Saturn is to Jupiter’s upper right. Three bright planets after sunset. Tonight, Jupiter and Mars are at opposition, separated by 180° of ecliptic longitude, the fourth planet – planet opposition this month. Mars sets about the time Jupiter rise. While the Red Planet is becoming more difficult to see after sunset, four bright planets are soon to be visible simultaneously. Add Mercury on August 18 and five planets are visible after mid-August. Three hours after sunset, Jupiter and Saturn are over 20° up in the southeastern sky.
Articles and Summaries
- Venus as an Evening Star
- Venus Evening Star (Summary)
- Mars during 2021 (Summary)
- July Planet Summary 2021 (Summary)
October 26, 2021: Mercury is at its greatest morning appearance for the year. Look low in the east-southeast before sunrise.
October 25, 2021: This morning the bright gibbous moon seems to be caught between the horns of Taurus. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. The planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky.
October 24, 2021: Saturn is at its closest to Jupiter as the Jovian Giant picks up eastward speed. The morning moon and Mercury are visible before sunrise. Brilliant Evening Star Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the sky after sunset.
October 23, 2021: This morning the bright moon is near the Pleiades star cluster. Mercury is making its best morning appearance. In the evening sky, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are easy to spot.
October 22. 2021: Speedy Mercury is low in the east before sunrise. It is putting on its best morning performance of the year. Arcturus, in the east-northeast, is about the same altitude as Mercury.