The constellations of spring begin to dominate the evening sky this month. Leo, the celestial lion, stands in good view at nightfall and leaps high across the south later on. Virgo follows the lion across the sky, with their brightest stars, Regulus and Spica, respectively, separated by more than 50 degrees — more than five times the width of your fist held at arm’s length.
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In the Sky This Month
April 22: Cor Caroli
Cor Caroli, the Heart of Charles, is the brightest star of Canes Venatici, the hunting dogs. It’s to the right of the handle of the Big Dipper as night falls, and wheels above the dipper later on. It consists of two stars in a wide orbit around each other.
April 23: Moon and Regulus
The Moon descends the western sky this evening, with the star Regulus to the left or upper left of the Moon. Regulus is the heart of Leo, the lion, and one of the brightest stars in the night sky.
April 24: More Moon and Regulus
Regulus, the heart of Leo, the lion, stands close to the right of the Moon as darkness falls. The Moon passes the star roughly once per month. Their conjunctions are possible because both lie near the ecliptic, which is the Sun’s path across the sky.
April 25: Corvus
Corvus, the crow, is low in the southeast at nightfall and arcs across the southern sky during the night. Corvus’s brightest stars form a small but distinct box. In mythology, the crow was a servant of the god Apollo.
April 26: Corona Borealis
Look well up in the east as darkness falls for yellow-orange Arcturus, the brightest star in the evening sky at this time of year. Well to its lower left is Corona Borealis, the northern crown, a semicircle of stars that opens to the upper left.
April 27: Moon and Spica
Two big stars with different futures stand below the Moon at nightfall. Their light blurs together into one point: Spica, the brightest star of Virgo. One of the stars will explode as a supernova, while the other faces a fate similar to the Sun’s.
April 28: Venus and Aldebaran
Two bright lights are passing close to each other in the western evening sky. The brighter light is Venus, the brilliant “evening star.” The other one, to the left or upper left of Venus tonight, is Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the bull.