Home > astronomy > Some interesting things to see in the night sky during April

Some interesting things to see in the night sky during April

Video courtesy NASA

This month provides an opportunity to see a meteor shower and three planets in the night sky.

The highlight will continue to be the chance to see Jupiter, which will shine brightly after being at opposition on March 8. Look to the south-southeast in the early evening, just after twilight; the solar system’s largest planet is in the constellation Leo. On April 17 you can see it moving with the waxing gibbous moon.

Mercury will become visible on April 8 as a fairly bright object with a -1 magnitude. The closest planet to the Sun passed its perihelion on April 5 and can be seen low in the western sky about 30 or 40 minutes after sunset. By April 18 Mercury will become quite a bit less bright, though it will be about 20 degrees east of the Sun by then. That makes it easier to see because it will be higher in the sky and will take longer to set. Whenever you observe the meteor shower, try to find a location away from any artificial lights.

You can best see Mars on or about April 24, when it reaches a magnitude of about -1.2 to -1.4. It will appear below the waxing gibbous moon as a yellowish-orange object. Look to the constellation Opheuchus to find Mars.

The Lyrid meteor shower peaks before dawn on April 22, but its annual visit corresponds with a full moon. However, the meteor shower starts on April 16, which might allow for some visibility of objects falling through the atmosphere before the full moon arrives.



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