July 1, 2021: Saturn and Mars are in opposite directions in the sky. Mars sets as Saturn rises. In about a week, the two planets are visible in the sky at the same time. This event signals that the planet parade is starting to reorganize. During July, three other planet – planet oppositions occur, leading up to a challenging view of the five bright planets during mid-August.
June 16, 2021: A summer project is to build a sidewalk solar system model. The scale uses the sun’s size as the size of a basketball. Earth’s distance is 88 feet.
August 18, 2021: During bright twilight, five planets and the moon are in the sky simultaneously after sunset. This is a challenging observation made with the assistance of a binocular or spotting scope. Mercury and Mars are at their closest in the west, with brilliant Venus to the upper left. The moon, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the southeastern sky. The Mercury – Mars conjunction is the closest until 2032.
May 31, 2021: The planet parade is cut to four bright participants as Mercury departs the evening sky after tonight’s final appearance. “Goodbye, Mercury!” until it appears in the morning sky during early summer. This morning the moon is near Saturn and Jupiter in the southeastern sky. Brilliant Evening Star Venus, dim Mercury, and Mars are in the evening sky.
May 30, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star shines from low in the west-northwest after sunset. Through a binocular locate Mercury, 2.5° to the lower right of Venus. Mercury is quickly departing the evening sky. Mars is higher in the sky, 5.3° to the lower left of Pollux.
May 29, 2021: Three planets are in the evening sky. Brilliant Venus is low in the west-northwest after sunset. Speedy Mercury is leaving the sky after its best evening performance of the year. It is below Venus. Mars is higher in the western sky, in Gemini to the lower left of Pollux.
May 27, 2021: Mercury approaches Venus the evening before a close conjunction of the two planets. This is the closest visible grouping of the two planets until 2033, although over two dozen groupings occur during the interim. Tonight is Sirius’ Cosmic Setting. It sets at sunset. The moon is visible low in the southeast at three hours after sunset.
May 26, 2021: Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in the western sky after sunset. The Venus – Mercury conjunction is two nights away. Use a binocular to see the brilliant planet and dimmer Mercury. Mars continues its march through Gemini to the lower left of Castor.
May 25, 2021: Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in the western sky after sunset. Mercury is coming off its best evening appearance of the year. Mars is marching eastward in Gemini. The bright moon is in the southeast during the early evening near the star Graffias.
May 28, 2021: This evening Mercury passes brilliant Venus for the second of three conjunctions during this evening apparition of the second planet from the sun. Use a binocular about 45 minutes after sunset to see the speedy planet 0.4° to the lower left of Venus. This is the closest visible conjunction until 2033.