Sky Report by Ted Gruber
Mercury (magnitude -1.1) returns to the evening sky in mid-April. The innermost planet becomes visible low above the west-northwest horizon as darkness falls. Mercury sets about 9:15pm on April 15, just before 10:00pm on April 22, and at 10:15pm on April 30.
Venus (magnitude -4.4), Mars (1.2), and Saturn (0.8) are visible in the southeast sky just before dawn. Venus rises first, currently just before 5:30am, followed by Mars just after 5:30am, and Saturn just after 6:00am. This order reverses by mid-April, with Saturn rising just before 4:30am, Mars about 15 minutes later, and Jupiter just past 5:30am. Between now and then, Venus and Saturn dim very slightly, while Mars brightens very slightly.
Jupiter (-2.0) returns to the morning sky next week, rising in the east just before sunrise. The giant planet will be easier to see over the next month, rising about 3 minutes sooner each morning.
Venus, Mars, and Saturn appear close together during the last week in March, with a crescent moon joining the trio the morning of March 28. That morning the moon appears about 6° below Mars, while Saturn and Venus appear about 2° apart and about 6° above the moon. Jupiter is also visible low on the horizon.
The moon appears 4° below Mars the morning of March 27 and about 4° below Saturn and about 7° south of Venus the next morning. Venus appears 2° above Saturn on March 29, and the moon appears 4° below Jupiter the morning of March 30. Mars and Saturn appear about 0.2° apart the morning of April 4, close enough to appear within the same field of view through a telescope. Jupiter and Neptune appear less than 0.1° apart the morning of April 12, but the conjunction will be difficult if not impossible to see so close to sunrise.
Full (3/18), last (3/25), new (4/1), first (4/9), full (4/16), last (4/23), new (4/30)
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