Last Week's Stargazing Tips

April 25: Moon and Jupiter

Dazzling Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet, perches to the upper left of the Moon as darkness falls tonight. Jupiter looks like a brilliant star. The only other planet or star to outshine it is Venus, which is in the west at that hour.

April 24: Virgo Galaxies

Virgo is low in the southeastern sky at nightfall. It is home to one of the largest and most massive galaxy clusters in the universe. The most prominent member of the cluster is M87, an elliptical galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its heart.

April 23: The Centaur

The head and shoulders of Centaurus, the centaur, are visible from much of the U.S. They rise in late evening and remain in view, low in the south, for a few hours. The centaur’s body and legs are visible only from far-southern latitudes.

April 22: Vanishing Orion

Orion is sinking from view. The constellation is low in the west as darkness falls. Its most conspicuous feature is a short line of three bright stars, known as Orion’s Belt. The belt is parallel to the horizon, and sets in late evening.

April 21: Moon and Venus

The crescent Moon and the planet Venus stage a beautiful encounter this evening. Venus is the “evening star,” and stands to the right of the Moon. As a bonus, the bright orange star Aldebaran, the eye of the bull, stands close below the Moon.

April 20: Moon, Venus, Aldebaran

The Moon is joined in the west this evening by Venus, the brilliant “evening star,” and by Aldebaran, the eye of the bull. Venus stands above the Moon, with Aldebaran to their left.

April 19: Lyrid Meteors

The Lyrid meteor shower is building toward its peak on Tuesday night. The best views come in the wee hours of the morning, when your part of Earth turns most directly into the meteor stream. There is no moonlight to spoil the view.


©2015 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory