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Looking at the April night sky


April's constellations. Click to hear more from Andrew Yee about April stargazing -- and star-finding
April's constellations. Click to hear more from Andrew Yee about April stargazing -- and star-finding

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

March 28, 2011 — With temperatures warming up, April should bring some nice nights for stargazing.

Saturn will be the only planet visible in the evening sky in April
Saturn will be the only planet visible in the evening sky in April

Astronomer Andrew Yee says early morning, just before sunrise, will be the best time to see planets in April.

Jupiter, which dominated the March evening sky, will take up a position too close to the sun to be visible, but Venus will be bright in the morning sky.

Then, on the last day of April, Mercury joins Venus in the morning sky, but could be difficult to see, Yee says.

“Even with binoculars it will be quite difficult to find the planet,” he says. “You would need a clear horizon with no obstruction and hope there are no clouds covering the horizon, or haze.”

In the evening sky, Saturn steals the show along with two bright stars, the orange Arcturus and blue Spica.

A Star Finder is a useful tool for stargazers
A Star Finder is a useful tool for stargazers

If you want to know exactly what will be visible in the sky at any given time on a particular evening, Yee recommends purchasing or downloading a Star Finder.

The Star Finder features movable dials for time, month and day that show you what to look for and where in the night sky.

“For example, if you want to know what stars and constellations are visible in the night sky on January 1st at 9 p.m., you line up (the dials) and within the oval is approximately the stars and constellations you can see at that instant,” Yee explains.

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