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01/06/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s take our first look at the naked-eye planets for 2021

January 6, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 6th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 5:18, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:19. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 1:57 tomorrow morning.

Let’s take our first look at the naked-eye planets for 2021. Jupiter and Saturn are both extremely low in the southwestern sky around 6 pm. Jupiter is the very bright one. Below and right of it is the dimmer Saturn it by two degrees or four moon widths. They crossed paths for us 16 nights ago. They can still be seen in the same binocular field. Saturn will set first tonight at 6:33 pm with Jupiter following nine minutes later. Quite high in the southeast at that hour will be Mars, still in Pisces. It will pass due south at 7:25 tonight. Mars’ distance is increasing to 88 million miles (141 million km) away. It will set at 2:19 tomorrow morning. Venus, our brilliant morning star will rise at 7:03 am in the east-southeast as it seems to retreat slowly toward the Sun, but actually it’s heading way around behind the Sun.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Jupiter and Saturn in the twilight

Jupiter and Saturn just above the distant trees at 6 pm January 6, 2021. We might lose them in twilight next week. We’ll have to move to a Lake Michigan horizon to try to spot them. Created using Stellarium.

Mars in the evening

Mars in the evening sky at 8 pm January 6, 2021 looking southward. Mars is on the boarder between Pisces on the right and Aries above and left. Also seen on the left is the tiny dipper shape of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster and farther to the left the letter V of stars that is the face of Taurus the bull with the bright star Aldebaran. Created using Stellarium.

Waning crescent Moon

The waning crescent Moon at around 7 am January 7, 2021 as it might be seen in binoculars or a small telescope. Created using Stellarium.

Venus in the morning

Venus seen low on the southeastern horizon at 7:30 in the morning on January 7, 2021. Created using Stellarium.

The planets Jupiter and Saturn as they might be seen in a small telescope at 6 pm, January 6, 2021. These planets are seen in twilight so Saturn’s moons will be invisible, and Jupiter’s moons nearly so. Mars is not shown because its apparent size is less than 10″ (seconds of arc in diameter), and Venus, nearly so. Apparent diameters: Jupiter, 32.73″; Saturn, 15.20″, rings, 35.42″; Mars, 9.82″, and Venus, 10.55″ 95% full.

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on January 6, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 7th. I’m afraid that the labels for Jupiter and Saturn overlap, since the planets are very close. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.