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 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.
October 21-November 1, 2021: Brilliant Venus steps through Ophiuchus to the upper left of the star Antares in the southwest after sunset . Afterward, the planet steps farther eastward.
October 21, 2021: The bright moon is low in the west about an hour before sunrise. Mercury is in the east at about the same altitude as Arcturus. Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter shine from the evening sky.
December 18, 2021: This is the anticipated launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most sophisticated space telescope view the universe.
October 20, 2021: Mercury is brightening in the morning sky. Brilliant Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky. The bright moon starts the evening low in the eastern sky.