Welcome to the April 2017 Sky Watch, courtesy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Here are the month’s night sky highlights, including conjunctions, meteor showers, and planets.
Sky Watch April 2017
by Bob Berman, as featured in The 2017 Old Farmer’s Almanac
(Note: Times listed below are ET.)
What’s up in April? Here are the highlights:
- Mercury is low in the western sky from the 1st to the 6th, in Aries.
- Mars, above it, moves into Taurus and drops lower at nightfall. At only magnitude 1.5, the Red Planet does not command attention.
- On April 7, Jupiter is at its brightest of the year as it comes closest to Earth! Jupiter is at “opposition” (in the opposite direction from the Sun as seen from Earth). In fact, this is Jupiter’s most distant opposition since 2005 as the immense gas giant completes its 12-year orbit. Jupiter shines at magnitude –2.5, floating above the blue star Spica, rising at sunset and out all night.
- On April 10, Jupiter reaches a tight conjunction with the Moon. Both objects will rise together in the east moments after the Sun sets in the west.
- Saturn rises at 1:00 a.m. in midmonth and dangles below the Moon on the 16th.
- Venus begins its morning star apparition and sits to the left of the Moon on the 23rd, before becoming its brightest on the 30th.
For a full year of Sky Watch—plus astronomical information—pick up a copy of The 2017 Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Sky Map April 2017
We offer printable sky maps, too, to help you know what you’re seeing when you look up!