October 11, 2021: The waxing moon appears above the spout of the Teapot of Sagittarius. Brilliant Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are visible after sunset.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:59 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:15 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The waxing crescent moon (37% illuminated) appears above the spout of the Teapot of Sagittarius this evening. Seemingly the lunar orb is immersed in the steam of the pot’s spout.
The Teapot shape is an asterism – a group of stars that resembles what it’s named after, such as the Big Dipper and Little Dipper. The teapot is part of a larger constellation.
The names of the stars that are labelled on the chart show the association with the mythological creature, a centaur – part human and part horse. In celestial artwork the creature is holding a bow and arrow and sometimes named the Archer. The Archer’s bow is marked by Kaus Borealis (northern part of the bow), Kaus Media (middle of the bow), and Kaus Australis (southern part of the bow). The tip of the arrow is marked by Alnasl. Kaus Borealis is the top of the Teapot’s lid, while the other three stars make the spout.
Meanwhile the three bright planets – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible after sunset. The moon is between Venus and Saturn.
At forty-five minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is about 10° above the southwest horizon. It is stepping through Scorpius. It is between Dschubba and Al Niyat. Al Niyat’s name is frequently translated as “artery,” because of its proximity to Antares – the star considered the Scorpion’s heart.
Venus is moving toward Antares. This evening the gap is 5.3°.
Saturn is about 30° to the upper left of the moon at this hour. Bright Jupiter is farther eastward, near the star Deneb Algedi.
Yesterday, Saturn stopped retrograding and is slowly moving eastward compared to the starry background. Jupiter’s retrograde ends next week.
This evening look for the “steamed moon” near the Teapot as well as the three bright evening planets.
Detailed Daily Note: Forty-five minutes after sunset, the moon (5.5d, 37%), over 19° above the south-southwest horizon, is above the spout of the Teapot of Sagittarius. It is 3.2° to the lower right of Kaus Borealis (λ Sgr, m = 2.8), 2.7° to the upper right of Kaus Media (δ Sgr, m = 2.7), and 4.0° to the upper left of Alnasl (γ Sgr, m = 3.0). Brilliant Venus (m = −4.4), nearly 10° up in the south is between Dschubba and Al Niyat (σ Sco, m = 2.9), 2.2° to the left of the former and 3.3° to the right of the latter. Venus continues to close toward its conjunction with Antares. This evening’s gap is 5.3°. Venus sets 112 minutes after sunset. Saturn, over 30° to the upper left of the moon, is 27.0° above the south-southeastern horizon. Jupiter, 15.5° to the left of Saturn, is nearly 26° up in the southeast. Two hours after sunset, Saturn, nearly 29° up in the south and west of the meridian, is 1.5° to the lower right of υ Cap. Use a binocular to spot the distant starfield with the giant planets. Jupiter, about 32° up in the south-southeast, is 3.7° to the lower right of dim μ Cap, 2.0° to the upper right of Deneb Algedi, and 1.4° above Nashira.
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.