April: Follow the Moon

As you’ll be taught on this month’s Sky Tour astronomy podcast, the Moon circles round the complete sky every month and — alongside the way — passes by many vivid stars and planets.

For instance, earlier than daybreak on April sixth, you will discover the crescent Moon about 5° — half of a fist — beneath the planet Saturn. Off to the left is far brighter Jupiter. One day later, on the seventh, the Moon has slid to the left and is now 5° beneath Jupiter. Once it reappears in the night sky, it passes close to the vivid star Aldebaran on the fifteenth, sits beneath Mars on the sixteenth, and slides simply to the left of the vivid star Pollux on the nineteenth.

Moon pairings in April 2021
Use the Moon to steer you to many vivid stars and planets throughout April.
Sky & Telescope

It is perhaps spring, however most of winter’s vivid stars are nonetheless hanging round in the hours after sundown. In the west, Orion is getting fairly low. Above the distinctive horizontal row of three stars that type the hunter’s belt is reddish star Betelgeuse and beneath it’s the icy white star Rigel.

To the belt’s decrease left, by about two fists, is Sirius, the brightest star in the nighttime sky. This beacon marks the collar of considered one of Orion’s looking canines, Canis Major. The different one, Canis Minor, is a bit larger up. Look for its considerably dimmer anchor star, referred to as Procyon.

High up and nearly overhead round 9 o’clock is the distinctive constellation Leo, the Lion. He’s going through to the proper, together with his head and mane forming an enormous backward query mark that’s a bit greater than your clenched fist. At the backside of that sample is Leo’s brightest star, Regulus, which means “little king”. You can even think about these stars as a large sickle, the sharp, long-bladed hand device that farmers as soon as used to reap grain.

These are just some of the highlights coated throughout April’s participating and informative Sky Tour astronomy podcast. Just head outdoors, then obtain or stream it to your audio machine — and also you’ll get a personally guided tour of what’s seen this month.

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