April 5, 2022: This is morning of the Mars-Saturn conjunction. Mars passes Saturn in the east-southeastern sky before sunrise, a conjunction. Brilliant Venus is nearby. The evening crescent moon is in front of the stars of Taurus, near Aldebaran.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:27 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:21 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Mars passes Saturn in a close conjunction before sunrise. The Red Planet is 0.4° to the lower left of the Ringed Wonder. While they seem to be close together in the sky, Mars is over 165 million miles from Earth and Saturn is nearly six times Mars’ distance.
Mars marches away from Saturn during the next several mornings.
To find the conjunction, first locate Venus over 10° up in the east-southeast at forty-five minutes before sunup. The planet is easy to locate as it is the brightest “star” in the sky and sometimes mistaken for an airplane or something alien. Mars and Saturn are over 7° to the upper right of Venus.
Mars and Saturn appear in the same field of view in a telescopic eyepiece that yields a magnification from 60x to 90 power.
The next conjunction of these two planets is April 10, 2024, in the eastern sky before sunrise.
Venus is heading toward Jupiter for a close conjunction at month’s end. This morning Jupiter rises 46 minutes before sunrise. Twenty minutes before sunrise, the Jovian Giant is nearly 5° up in the east, 22.6° to the lower left of Venus.
Jupiter can be found at this hour with some persistence, a binocular, and a clear horizon. During the next week, it appears higher and joins Venus, Mars, and Saturn in a darker sky.
Mercury is quickly entering the evening sky. It sets only 14 minutes after sunset. It sets about six minutes later each evening. In a week, it sets nearly a week after sunset.
A pretty crescent moon, 21% illuminated, is in front of the stars of Taurus. Step outside at 45 minutes after sunset and look west. The moon is nearly halfway up in the west.
The Pleiades star cluster is 10.4° to the lower right of the lunar crescent, while the Hyades cluster is about 6° to the lower left.
The Hyades and the star Aldebaran make the “V” shape, making the head the bull. Aldebaran is 6.8° to the lower left of the lunar slice.
The Bull’s horns are marked by Elnath and Zeta Tauri. Tomorrow evening the moon is nearly between them.
Later this month and during early May, Mercury is near the Pleiades and Taurus.
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