The brightest objects in the night sky other than the Moon bracket the mornings this month. Venus reigns as the brilliant Morning Star in the east, with next-brightest Jupiter on the opposite side of the sky. Venus is quite low as April begins, but climbs higher as the month progresses. Jupiter is well up in the sky in early April, but sets around dawn by the end of the month.
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In the Sky This Month
April 24: Hunting Dogs
The constellation Canes Venatici, the hunting dogs, is high in the east this evening. To find it, look for bright yellow-orange Arcturus well up in the east as darkness falls. Canes Venatici is to the upper left of Arcturus.
April 25: New Moon
The Moon is “new” early tomorrow, as it crosses the imaginary line between Earth and Sun. We can’t see the new Moon because it appears too close to the Sun, and because its sunlit side is facing away from Earth.
April 26: Vanishing Dog
Sirius, the Dog Star, is dropping from the evening sky. It is low in the southwest at sunset and sets by around 11 p.m. Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. It looks like a brilliant white gem, which twinkles fiercely.
April 27: Moon, Mars, and Aldebaran
Aldebaran and Mars perch to the upper left and upper right of the Moon, respectively, as evening twilight fades. Aldebaran is the leading light of Taurus, while Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun.
April 28: More Moon, Mars, and Aldebaran
Aldebaran, the eye of the bull, is in good view early this evening. The star stands below the Moon as night falls, so it’s easy to spot. The fainter planet Mars stands to the right of Aldebaran.
April 29: The Solitary One
As night falls, the southern sky is a big blob of darkness, with only one modestly bright star in the whole region: Alphard, “the solitary one.” It is the brightest star of Hydra, the water snake, which stretches halfway across the southern sky.
April 30: The Most Beautiful
Boötes is in the east at nightfall, marked by its brightest star, yellow-orange Arcturus. The first noticeable star to the left of Arcturus is Izar. To the eye it looks like a single point of light, but a telescope reveals a colorful binary.