This month it’s all about Venus as it returns to the evening skies in April, making it a planet
to keep an eye on for the rest of the year. Venus will slowly re-emerge into the evening
twilight as an ‘Evening Star’, just as it did for much of 2019 and 2020. Perhaps tricky to see
in the early part of April due to it’s positioning with the sun. But as the month moves on
things will improve as Venus’s brightness will help the planet stand out so that it can
confidently be seen against the evening twilight.
Later in the month Venus has a close encounter with Mercury. On 25 April, Venus and
Mercury appear extreemly close (in astrological terms) just after the sun has set, and the
remain together in the Northwest horizon for about 45 minutes after sunset. Best to see
Venus after the sun has set using a pair of binoculars.
More planets to spot in April:
It shouldn’t be long before Mercury too pops out of the bright twilight sky. While Venus
takes a while to crawl away from the Sun, Mercury appears to move much faster and over
the following nights the Solar System’s innermost planet zips away from Venus, climbing
higher in the sky. It retains a pretty decent brightness too for the rest of the month. It’s a
great opportunity to try and spot Mercury if you’ve never seen it before.
Mars is now well past its best for its current viewing, with its brightness dropping over the
month and its apparent size dropping as well as it moves away. It’s also getting lower as
darkness falls. Its rapid apparent eastward motion will keep it visible for a while longer but
with such a small viewable disc size it’ will be tricky to get any serious detail from the planet
even with a telescope.
Jupiter is a morning planet, rising 70 minutes before the Sun at the month’s start, but this
month it doesn’t rise very high in the sky at all. Saturn is the last planet that you can
observe this month and again it is a morning object, making only the briefest of
appearances quite low before sunrise and then soon lost to the early morning light.