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
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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