October 12, 2021: The moon, Saturn, and Jupiter are strung along the southern sky this evening after sunset. Venus continues its trek through Scorpius.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:00 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:14 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Sunrise is after 7 a.m. CDT beginning today, although when daylight time ends on November 7 and the clock is turned backwards, sunset falls back to 6:31 a.m. It does not return to 7 a.m. CDT and later until December 2.
After sunset, the moon, Saturn, and Jupiter are nearly in a line above the southern horizon. After brilliant Venus, Jupiter is the second brightest “star” in the sky tonight. It is to the far left of the scene. Saturn is between the lunar orb and the Jovian Giant.
The trio spans over 34° and snugly fits into the frame used here for diagrams. Tomorrow evening, the moon is closer to Saturn.
Brilliant Venus continues to shine in the southwest. Look for it at forty-five minutes after sunset. Use a binocular to spot it above a line from Dschubba – “the forehead of the Scorpion” – and Al Niyat – “the artery.” The brilliant planet is 4.3° to the right of Antares.
During the next few evenings watch Venus move past Al Niyat. On the evening of October 15, Venus, Antares, and Al Niyat dot the corners of a pretty celestial triangle.
Detailed Daily Note: Forty-five minutes after sunset, three bright planets and the nearly-first-quarter moon are in the evening sky. Brilliant Venus is nearly 10° up in the southwest, above a line from Dscubba to Al Niyat, 3.2° to the upper left of the former star and 2.3° to the upper right of the latter. Antares is 4.3° to the left of the planet. Farther eastward, the moon (6.5d, 48%) is over 21° up in the south, 2.7° to the upper left of Tau Sagittarii (τ Sgr, m = 3.3), in the handle of the Teapot of Sagittarius. At this hour, Jupiter is 26.0° up in the southeast. Saturn, 15.4° to the right of Jupiter and 19.3° to the upper left of the moon, is over 27° up in the south-southeast. The planet is gently moving eastward compared to the starry background, while Jupiter continues to retrograde. Watch the gap between them continue to close for nearly two weeks. See the note for October 10. Two hours after sunset, the moon is about 19° above the south-southwest horizon. Jupiter is nearly 32° up in the south-southeast. In the starfield, it is 3.7° to the lower right of μ Cap, 2.0° to the upper right of Deneb Algedi, and 1.4° above Nashira. Use a binocular. Saturn is nearly 29° up in the south, west of the meridian. It is 1.5° to the lower right of υ dim Cap. The moon reaches its Last Quarter phase at 10:25 p.m. CDT.
- 2023, October 20: Jupiter’s Double Shadows, Mercury at Superior ConjunctionOctober 20: After midnight, Jupiter’s moons’ shadows dance across the cloud tops. Mercury is at superior conjunction.
- 2023, October 19: Poured Moon, See Planet UranusOctober 19: Sagittarius seems to pour the moon into the sky this evening. Find Uranus with a binocular.
- 2023, October 18: Moon-Antares Conjunction, Bright PlanetsOctober 18, 2023: The moon is near Antares after sunset. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the sky during the nighttime hours.
- 2023, October 17: Scorpion MoonOctober 17, 2023: The crescent moon is with Scorpius during evening twilight. Venus and Jupiter gleam from the predawn sky.
- 2023, October 16: Venus in Starry ConjunctionOctober 16, 2023: Venus passes a star in Leo before sunrise. A crescent moon is low in the western sky during evening twilight.