SkyDiary
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Find out what’s up in the night sky:
Upcoming astoronomical events, interesting observations, packed with everything a stargazer needs to know.

Observations are described for the NORTHERN hemisphere and can be made by naked eye, small binoculars or by small telescope.

April 2020

Phases of the Moon

First Quarter:April 01
Full Moon:April 08
Last Quarter:April 15
New Moon:April 23
First Quarter:April 30

Venus at Its Brightest

The planet is the brightest object (except the Moon) on the evening sky. On April 30, it will reach the maximum brightness, about (-4.7) mag. On April 3, Venus will be very near to the well-known open cluster M45 (Pleiades) in the constellation Taurus (the Bull). This should be a beautiful sight by naked eye, but even better with small binoculars. Around 19:00 UT, the planet will be only 11 arc-minutes to the west from the star Merope in Pleiades. Because the planet will get closer and closer to the Earth during April, its diameter will increase, but, at the same time, its disk will be illuminated less and less. Hence, at the end of April it will become a narrow crescent. This can be observed in a small telescope with, say, 80 mm objective and 50-100x magnification.

Mars and Saturn

On April 1, the planet Mars will be only 57 arc-minutes south from the planet Saturn. With small binoculars, this event can be observed on the morning sky, around 5:00 morning local time. However, both planets will be quite low over south-eastern horizon (about 12 degrees for the latitude 50 degrees north in Middle Europe). Mars has the red color and its brightness will be +0,8 mag, whereas Saturn is yellowish and its magnitude will be +0,6 mag. Despite the small height over horizon, both planets are bright enough to find them with naked eye, if the sky is transparent.

Article by (C) G. Okša