October 6, 2021: The moon is at its New moon phase today. This evening look for the three bright planets after sunset.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:53 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:24 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The moon is at its New moon phase at 6:05 a.m. CDT.
The evening planets – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are easily visible during twilight.
Evening Star Venus is low in the southwest after sunset. At forty-five minutes after sunset, it is over 9° above the horizon. Find a clear observing spot facing that direction.
Each evening the planet’s location compared to the background stars changes noticeably. Look for it 3.4° to the lower right of Dschubba, “the forehead of the Scorpion. It is 10.7° to the lower right of Antares – “the rival of Mars.” This star marks the heart of the celestial scorpion.
In three evenings, Venus is grouped with the crescent moon, Dschubba, Graffias, and Pi Scorpii (π Sco on the chart). All five fit into the field of view of a 7×50 binocular. This grouping is infrequent. The three stars make a narrow target for the moon and Venus to fit into the same binocular field. This occurs again on October 10, 2029.
At this hour, farther eastward, bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky. Both planets are retrograding in Capricornus. Saturn’s illusionary motion ends in four nights. Jupiter’s ends about a week later. This evening Jupiter is 1.9° to the upper right of the star Deneb Algedi – “the kid’s tail.”
The gap between the two planets is 15.3°. In comparison to Jupiter, Saturn is not so bright. After Venus sets, the Ringed wonder is the fourth brightest star in the sky, after Jupiter, Arcturus, and Vega.
Detailed Daily Note: The moon reaches its New moon phase at 6:05 a.m. CDT. Forty-five minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is over 9° above the southwest horizon. It continues to step about 1.1° eastward along the ecliptic each evening. Look for it 3.4° to the lower right of Dscubba and 10.7° to the lower right of Antares. Farther eastward, bright Jupiter is over 24° up in the southeast. Saturn, 15.3° to the upper right of Jupiter, is nearly 27° above the south-southeast horizon. Two hours after sunset. Jupiter is over one-third of the way up in the sky above the south-southeast horizon. Use a binocular to see the starfield behind the Jovian Giant. The planet is 3.6° to the lower right of μ Cap, 1.9° to the upper right of Deneb Algedi, and 1.4° to the upper left of Nashira. Saturn, nearly 29° up in the south and east of the meridian, is 1.5° to the lower right of 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.