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 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.