Fri., April 1 6:25 7:06
Sat., April 2 6:23 7:07
Sun., April 3 6:21 7:08
Mon., April 4 6:20 7:09
Tues., April 5 6:18 7:10
Wed., April 6 6:16 7:12
Thurs., April 7 6:15 7:13
Fri., April 8 6:13 7:14
This is the month for looking at Saturn. In the coming week the ringed planet is closer to the earth than at any other time in the year. Saturn rises in the east at sunset and sets in the west at sunrise.
Saturn is the brightest celestial object rising in the east, brighter than it has been for a while. The rings, which were mostly edgewise for the last two years, have a more dramatic tilt now, making the rings appear more visible and thus contributing to the brightness of the planet. Saturn is in the zodiacal constellation Virgo.
The planet is also closer than usual, about 800 million miles away. The sun, by comparison, is 93 million miles away. Light from Saturn takes about an hour and eleven minutes to get to us. Light coming from the sun takes eight minutes. Light from the moon takes less than two seconds to get to us.
A thin crescent moon appears low in the southwestern sky after sunset on Tuesday night. Only a few Vineyarders will have seen it Monday night, close to the horizon. The rest of us will see it hovering in the glow of twilight, in the zodiacal constellation Aries. Two nights later, the moon is a good deal higher in the west. The moon is in the zodiacal constellation Taurus.