The stars of winter are marching toward the end of their annual evening run. Orion is in the southwest at nightfall as April begins, for example, but is quite low in the west as the Sun begins to set by month’s end. Sirius, the Dog Star, is to the lower left of Orion. It’s the brightest true star in the entire night sky, so even though it’s quite low, it sparkles beautifully as it drops from view in the evening for another year.
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In the Sky This Month
April 17: More Moon and Mars
The Moon and Mars drop down the western sky this evening. They are high in the sky at nightfall, with Mars, which looks like a fairly bright star, to the lower right of the Moon. They set by 1 or 2 a.m.
April 18: Hunting Dogs
Canes Venatici, the hunting dogs, is high in the east as night falls. The constellation represents two dogs held on a leash by Boötes, the herdsman. Canes Venatici is well to the upper left of bright yellow-orange Arcturus, the brightest star of Boötes.
April 19: Moon and Gemini
Pollux and Castor, the twins of Gemini, line up to the right of the Moon at nightfall. The trio forms an equally spaced line, with brighter Pollux closer to the Moon.
April 20: Lyrid Meteors
The Lyrid meteor shower is building toward its peak late tomorrow night. Unfortunately, the gibbous Moon will be in the way during the peak hours, so only a few of the shower’s “shooting stars” are likely to shine through.
April 21: Moon and Regulus
Regulus, the bright star that marks the heart of Leo, the lion, huddles to the lower left of the Moon as night falls. The two celestial bodies will appear closer together as they set in the wee hours of the morning.
April 22: More Moon and Regulus
The Moon follows the heart of the lion across the sky tonight. The heart is represented by the bright star Regulus. It stands to the right of the Moon as evening twilight fades. The gap between them will be a little wider as they set in the wee hours of the morning.
April 23: Vanishing Orion
Orion, the hunter, is bowing out of the evening sky. He’s low in the west at nightfall, and his stars begin dropping from view not long afterward. The constellation will be all but lost from sight by the middle of May.
Last Apr. 4, 5:02 pm
New Apr. 11, 9:31 pm
First Apr. 20, 1:59 am
Full Apr. 26, 10:32 pm
Times are U.S. Central Time.
Apogee April 14
Perigee April 27
The full Moon of April is known as the Egg Moon or Grass Moon.