Fri., April 17 4:59 6:24
Sat., April 18 4:57 6:25
Sun., April 19 4:56 6:26
Mon., April 20 4:54 6:27
Tues., April 21 4:53 6:28
Wed., April 22 4:51 6:29
Thurs., April 23 4:50 6:30
Fri., April 24 4:48 6:31
The crescent moon moves amid the planets early in the week, but only early-morning risers will have the best view.
On Sunday the crescent moon appears near the bright planet Jupiter; both are in the zodiacal constellation Capricornus. The two rise a few hours before the sun.
On Tuesday morning, the thin crescent moon appears near the brighter planet Venus. The two are a good deal closer than the Sunday morning showing of the moon and Jupiter. For those with a clear view of the horizon, try looking for Mars beneath the two. Mars is tough to spot because it is so low, but worth the view. Binoculars will help.
The Lyrid meteor shower can be seen on Tuesday morning. The peak is at 2 a.m., though it is possible to spot meteors at any time that evening. An observer can expect to see as many as ten meteors an hour during the peak time. If the weather is clear, moonlight will not interfere.
Ten meteors in an hour is not an impressive number, but this is a reliable shower. It gets its name from where meteors were thought to originate, in the tiny constellation Lyra. Today astronomers know better; in fact the space debris comes from a distant comet. Astronomers estimate these particles hit our atmosphere at a fast 110,000 miles per hour and then burn up, never reaching the ground. — M.A.L.