General News

Star Talk for April 2022

Stars in April:

After Night-time Dusk

  • Cancer the Crab is now centered in the Southern sky at sunset, but Cancer is a faint constellation.
  • Just to the East of Cancer, is the bright zodiac constellation of Leo the Lion. The constellation of Gemini is still visible, but off to the East, and Orion is getting closer to the Eastern horizon.
  • Leo is one of the few constellations that actually looks like the living creature that it represents.
  • Regulus, the brightest star in Leo (in the chest of Leo), is one of the brightest star in the sky. Unfortunately, although Leo’s bright stars well outline the constellation, that are few objects inside the constellation to look at unless a person has a strong telescope.
  • Canis Major, with Sirius, the brightest star in the sky will still be very visible, to the East and below Orion and to the West and below Leo.
  • This month of April 2022 is another month of no bright planets in the evening sky.
  • Although Cancer a drab constellation, right in its middle, nearly due south at dusk is a beautiful star cluster, M44, the “Beehive Cluster.” M44 is barely visible to the unaided eye but is quite pretty as a small cluster of stars in binoculars. M44 isn’t shown on the below star chart, right at the end of the word “Cancer.”
The Beehive photo is from NASA,
  • On the evening of April 4th, look outside at the moon with a pair of binoculars—you’ll see the moon just below the Pleiades, the bright star cluster in the constellation of Taurus.On the 8th, the moon, Castor, and Pollux (the two stars that are the heads of the constellation Gemini, the twins) will form an almost perfect isosceles triangle.On the 29th, we’ll have a chance to see Mercury, which is always hard to find. After sunset, near the western horizon, Mercury can be sighted to the lower left of the Pleiades star cluster.

Early Morning

  • If you want to see planets, early morning before sunrise is the place to be in April!
  • As you can see from the below schematic, Venus, Mars, and Saturn will all be close to each other in the morning sky as the month begins.
  • Mars and Saturn will appear very close together on April 5th.
  • By mid-month, those three planets, plus Jupiter, will be strung in a line from the western horizon:
Acknowledgements: Above schematics are from Sky and Telescope Magazine,
Star Chart from Orion Telescopes website