April 2020 Sky Report

April 2020 will have a moderate meteor shower, the Lyrids on the 22nd, and a week before, early morning sky watchers will have a photographic opportunity!

First Quarter Moon: April 1
Full Moon (Pink Moon): April 8
Last Quarter Moon: April 14
New Moon: April 22

Featured Constellation

Leo is the brightest of the Spring zodiac constellations. It is identified by Regulus, the brightest star. The rest of the constellation can easily be traced to form a male Lion resting, with stars forming the head with his mane, and the rest forming the body.

A favorite deep sky site in this constellation is the Leo Triplet, a trio of galaxies consisting of M66, M65, and NGC 3628.

Any Notable Celestial Events?

Moon Jupiter Saturn and Mars Triangle – April 15

Once more, the moon will join Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars and make a formation in the sky. Check this out during the morning hours before sunrise in the southwest! Fortunately, this won’t be the last time this occurs for 2020.                                          Rating: It’ll be cool to check out, but this is the first of six “triangles” between Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon for 2020. 

Lyrids Meteor Shower – April 22,23

While the Lyrids are an average shower, usually producing 10-20 meteors per hour, they often leave glowing trails that last for several seconds. On this particular night, there won’t be any moon interference, so it’s a good night to try and catch some meteors, as well as bring out the telescope and view some deep sky objects from a dark location. Rating: The Lyrids Shower is an added bonus for those wishing to stargaze on new moon night for April. 

Can You Just Tell Me Where the Planets Are Visible?

Mercury: Will be low in the southeast before dawn early in the month, but will gradually get lost in the Sun’s glare later.

Venus: very prominent in the west after sunset. As it inches closer to Earth, it’s appearance through a telescope will get bigger, and it will appear to shift more into a crescent.

Earth: It’s always visible 😉

Mars: Will be an early morning target in the southern skies, best viewed around 5 am. It will gradually shift west to east in front of Capricornus.

Jupiter: In the constellation Sagittarius, visible in the early morning hours before sunset. It rises around 3 am on April 1, gradually rising earlier each day. By April 30, it will start rising around 1 am.

Saturn: It’s in the same patch of the sky as Jupiter, less than 5° to the left when looking South. The rules of visibility apply the same as Jupiter.

Uranus: It will spend most of the month in conjunction with the Sun, and thus won’t be visible.

Neptune: Low in the southeast around sunset. It rises around 5:43 am on April 1, and by April 30, it will begin rising close to 4 am.

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