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04/07/2021 – Ephemeris – Three naked-eye planets are visible overnight

April 7, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, April 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 8:18, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:10. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 6:14 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately, the only one you’ll find in the evening is Mars. It can be found in the west at 10 pm tonight, above the orange star Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the bull. Mars will set at 1:47 am. Venus is now just a bit east of the Sun, setting fourteen minutes after sunset. It will be late May or early June before it will be easily spotted in the evening twilight. The other three naked-eye planets are just west of the Sun in the Morning sky. Only Saturn and Jupiter are at a far enough angle from the Sun to be spotted in the morning twilight. Saturn will rise at 4:43 am, with Jupiter rising 34 minutes later. By 6:30 am they will be low in the southeast.

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

Addendum

Mars in the evening sky
Mars as it would be seen in the west above the star Aldebaran between the constellations of Taurus, Auriga, and Orion at 10 pm this evening, April 7, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Jupiter and Saturn in the morning sky
Jupiter, Saturn with the thin crescent Moon just rising at 6:30 am for early risers tomorrow at 6:30 am. Created using Stellarium.
Jupiter and Saturn as seen in a telescope
Jupiter and Saturn as seen in a small telescope at the same magnification. Apparent diameters: Jupiter, 35.30″; Saturn, 16.10″, rings, 37.51″. Mars is too far away to make out detail on its surface, except maybe a polar cap. Its apparent diameter is 5.13″. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).
Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night
Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on April 7, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 8th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.