Highlights of the Night Sky in April

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Here are some of the things to see in April:

  • 8:30 PM, western sky – Venus rises over the horizon after sunset, Mercury appears low in the sky toward the end of the month
  • 9 PM, southern sky – Jupiter rises high when the evening sets in
  • 1 AM, southeastern sky – Saturn rises over the horizon after midnight and is joined by the Moon on April 8
  • 10 PM, northern sky – Ursa Major with the Mizar and Alcor double star system, visible to the naked eye in good conditions; the neighbouring galaxies Messier 81 (Bode’s Galaxy) and Messier 82 (Cigar Galaxy); the Big Dipper pattern and Pointer stars, Merak and Dubhe, pointing the way to Polaris in Ursa Minor
  • 10 PM, southern sky – the constellation Leo, with the bright stars Regulus and Denebola marking the lion’s heart and tail; the Leo Triplet, consisting of galaxies Messier 65, Messier 66, and the Hamburger Galaxy (NGC 3628); the pair of neighbouring spiral galaxies Messier 95 and Messier 96
  • Three Leaps of the Gazelle – three pairs of double stars between the head of Leo and Ursa Major
  • 2 AM, eastern sky – Lyrid meteor shower, best seen in the early morning hours of April 22, with up to 20 meteors per hour shooting across the sky after midnight
  • Total lunar eclipse on April 4, visible from the western United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and eastern Asia

Related: April constellations