Fri., April 20 5:54 7:27
Sat., April 21 5:53 7:28
Sun., April 22 5:51 7:29
Mon., April 23 5:50 7:30
Tues., April 24 5:48 7:31
Wed., April 25 5:47 7:32
Thurs., April 26 5:45 7:33
Fri., April 27 5:44 7:34
The brightest planet in the sky tonight is Venus, high in the western sky. Venus is moving through the zodiacal constellation Taurus. It is a short distance away from the star cluster Pleiades, which through a pair of binoculars looks like a small dipper. The Pleiades, also nicknamed the Seven Sisters, is a short distance west of the planet.
For those who have a low-powered telescope, a bird scope is powerful enough, Venus is an impressive sight. Through a telescope, Venus is only partially lit by the sun and looks a lot like a crescent moon. The planet has two cusps.
Venus is speeding towards the Earth in its orbit around the Sun and will continue to get closer to us over the next two months. Venus is 43 million miles from us, a lot closer to the Earth than Mars was last month. Venus will transit the Sun in June.
During this transit, astronomers and some amateur astronomers will watch Venus pass in between the Earth and Sun; and appear as a silhouette moving across the sun’s surface. They’ll be using solar telescopes. No one should attempt to look at the sun without the right optical device.
Mars was 62 million miles away early in March, when it reached opposition. Mars is now 86 million miles away. The Earth is speeding away from Mars rapidly. You can see Mars nearly overhead shortly after sunset and looks like a bright red “star.”