Some months bring exquisite meteor showers. Others bring planets and unique stars.
Here are NASA’s new skywatching suggestions for April 2021:
On April 6, look to the southeast at dawn in the hour before sunrise. The planets Jupiter and Saturn, along with the moon, will make “a lovely planetary trio,” the space agency says. Jupiter, the third brightest object in the night sky (behind the moon and Venus), will appear to the left of the other two objects.
Look up during any April night to see the constellation Leo, which represents a lion in Greek mythology. Leo’s heart is a bright blue-white star called Regalus. While you’re looking up, it’s intriguing to know that “at least two of Leo’s stars have confirmed exoplanets,” writes NASA.
Any twilight in April (or the year, for that matter): If you have clear skies, turn east (away from the sunset), and you’ll see a band of pink or orange-hued sky. It’s called the “Belt of Venus” (named for the Roman goddess), and it’s made by the last of the sun’s light rays making their way through Earth’s atmosphere.
Why no meteor showers? The annual Lyrid meteor shower will peak on April 22. But, bright moonlight will infer with the meteor shower this year.
Happy early spring sky gazing.