2021, August 9: Evening Moon, Mars


August 9, 2021: After the New moon yesterday morning, the crescent moon appears in the evening sky during bright twilight near Mars.

Chart Caption – 2021, August 9: In this binocular view the thin crescent moon is 3.5° to the upper right of Mars.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:53 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:59 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

The moon reached its New phase yesterday morning.  This evening, the thin crescent appears low in the west during bright twilight.

Mars is slowly slipping into the sun’s bright light.  The moon is a guide to the Red Planet this evening.

Step outside with a binocular at 30 minutes after sunset.  The crescent moon, only 2% illuminated, is nearly 6° up in the west northwest. Mars is 3.5° to the lower left of the lunar slice.

As the chart above shows, place the thin moon toward the upper right portion of the binocular’s field of view.  Mars appears toward the middle to the lower left part of the field.

On August 18, Mercury has a very close conjunction with the Red Planet. At 25 minutes after sunset, Mercury and Mars join Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter in the sky simultaneously.

Each evening, look for Mars with the binocular. On August 13, Mercury enters the same field of view as Mars.  Emerging from its superior conjunction with the sky, the speedy planet is on a track for a not-so-impressive evening appearance.

Detailed Daily Note: One hour before sunrise, Saturn is about 5° above the west-southwest horizon.  Its retrograde motion has carried it 4.4° to the lower right of θ Cap.  Over 24° up in the southwest, Jupiter is 18.9° to the upper left of Saturn. Retrograding in Aquarius, Jupiter is 1.0° to the right of ι Aqr. Thirty minutes after sunset, use a binocular to locate the moon (1.5 days after the New moon, 2% illuminated) is about 6° up in the west-northwest, 3.5° to the upper right of Mars.  The close Mercury – Mars conjunction occurs in nine evenings.  Can you find Mars during this bright twilight phase?  Venus is 17.5° to the upper left of the lunar crescent.  Fifteen minutes later, Venus is about 8° above the western horizon and 31.5° to the lower right of Spica. Saturn is nearly 11° up in the southeast. The Ringed Wonder’s was at its opposition a week ago.  Jupiter’s opposition with the sun is in 10 evenings.  Can you find Jupiter and Venus in the sky at the same time?  As the calendar day ends, Saturn and Jupiter are about one-third of the way up in the sky.  Saturn is in the south, while Jupiter is in the south-southeast.

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