The Visible Planets
Mercury is lost in the glare of the rising Sun along the eastern horizon early in the month and then will be at superior conjunction on April 18. It slowly begins to emerge out the Sun’s setting glare, low in our west-northwestern sky, by the end of the month. Look for Mercury near the brighter planet Venus on April 25 very low along the west-northwest horizon after sunset. Binoculars will assist you in finding Mercury from the brighter Venus. As the month ends, Mercury will have gained some elevation and will be much easier to spot after sunset.
Venus starts becoming visible low in the west-northwestern sky after sunset by the end of April, gaining some elevation as the month comes to an end. It will be joined in the western sky by the planet Mercury during the last week of April.
Mars is found about halfway up the sky in the west-southwest sky after sunset early in the month but slowly sinks lower with each passing day. Mars is still located within the constellation of Taurus, the bull, until April 24. After that date, Mars begins its journey into the constellation of Gemini, the twins for the rest of the month. On the nights of April 16 and 17, look for Mars near the waxing crescent Moon.
Jupiter is found in the constellation of Capricornus, the sea goat, and can be seen shining brightly very low in the southeastern sky before sunrise. On April 6 and 7, look for the waning crescent Moon just below Jupiter.
Saturn is found low in the southeastern sky before sunrise and is in the constellation of Capricornus, the sea goat. Saturn is seen just a little further south of the brighter planet Jupiter and rises slightly before Jupiter does. On April 5 and 6 look for the waning crescent Moon near Saturn before dawn.
April 4 Last Quarter Moon
April 11 New Moon
April 20 First Quarter Moon
April 26 Full Moon (Pink Moon)
International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes
Look for passes of the ISS low in the south in the early evening sky on April 1 and 2, with the ISS always moving from west to east. The ISS passes then move into our predawn sky on April 28 through until early May. Exact times of these passages for your location can be found by visiting http://www.heavens-above.com or by using satellite tracking smart phone apps like Sputnik.
April 5/6 Saturn near the waning crescent Moon in the predawn eastern sky.
April 6/7 Waning crescent Moon near Jupiter.
April 10 A Russian Soyuz rocket is set to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station with the crew of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft. Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov and Andrei Borisenko will be onboard.
April 12 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Edmonton Centre meeting. Virtual Zoom meeting. Free for anyone to attend. See http://www.edmontonrasc.com for more details.
April 17 1-2-3s of Telescope Use Class (Online virtual telescope class) Registration required.
April 20 SpaceX Crew Dragon will launch the Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will be onboard.
April 22 The Lyrid meteor shower peaks (Zenith hourly rate of only 18)
April 23 Hubble Space Telescope launched 31 years ago today.
April 26 Perigee full Moon. Mars is near the open cluster of stars in Gemini, M35.