October 2, 2021: The crescent moon appears near the head of Leo in the eastern sky this morning before sunrise.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:49 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:30 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The moon continues its monthly eastward trek. This morning the lunar crescent, 19% illuminated, is in the eastern sky, less than 40° above the horizon at one hour before sunrise.
It is 5.5° to the upper right of Ras Elased Australis – “the southern part of the lion’s head.” As the meaning of the star’s name states, the lunar crescent is near Leo’s head.
The star, along with five others, is part of a backwards question mark pattern, that is known as the “Sickle of Leo.” The shape resembles a farmer’s tool for cutting grain. Regulus – “the prince” – is at the bottom of the shape. In celestial artwork, it is placed at the Lion’s heart.
Regulus is the 15th brightest star visible from mid-northern latitudes, and the 22nd brightest from across the planet. It shines with a brightness of over 275 suns from nearly 80 light years away.
In the sky, the Lion is facing westward, in a profile view. The Sickle of Leo is connected to a triangle that includes the tail – Denebola.
Tomorrow morning, the moon is below the Sickle and to the left of Regulus.
Detailed Daily Note: One hour before sunrise, the moon (25.4d, 19%) is less than 40° above the eastern horizon. It is 5.5° to the upper right of Ras Elased Australis (ε Leo, m = 3.0). In the evening sky, 45 minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is nearly 9° above the southwest horizon. The planet is moving eastward along the ecliptic at about 1.1° of ecliptic longitude each evening. This evening it is 7.7° to the lower right of Dschubba and 15.1° to the lower right of Antares. Farther eastward, bright Jupiter is over 23° up in the southeast. Saturn, nearly 26° above the south-southeast horizon, is 15.7° to the upper right of the Jovian Giant. Both planets are retrograding in Capricornus. Saturn halts its westward motion along the ecliptic on October 10 and it only moves 0.07° until then. Jupiter’s retrograde along the ecliptic ends a week later. It moves 0.49° westward until then. By two hours after sunset, Jupiter is over one-third of the way up in the south-southeast, 3.4° to the lower right of μ Cap, 1.8° to the upper right of Deneb Algedi, and 1.5° to the upper left of Nashira. Saturn is nearly 29° above the southern horizon, east of the meridian, and 1.4° to the lower right of dim υ Cap.
October 29, 2021: Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the sun. It is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn. The crescent moon and Mercury are in the eastern sky before sunrise.
October 29 – November 1, 2021: The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!
October 26, 27, and 28, 2021: During the early morning hours, the bright gibbous moon appears in front of Gemini’s stars.
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.