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The Planets

Planet Data For April

Click on any planet below to go straight to its section.

MercuryVenusMarsJupiterSaturnUranusNeptuneObs for All

The table below shows key data for the planets this month, including rise, transit and set times, as well as magnitude, apparent size and position data (right ascension and declination).

Events that occur when the sun is below the horizon are shown with a black background and white text. All other events happen when the sun is in the sky and other for not visible for observation.

During the month of April, we still have some great views of Jupiter, as it dominates the early evening sky.  Make sure not to miss a last glance of this gas giant, before it leaves our evening view and becomes an early morning object.  Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn are barely visible in the sky, as they set and rise alongside of the sun.  It will be several months before these return for easier viewing.

Make sure to look out for Venus and Jupiter during the total solar eclipse on April 8th, which will both be visible during totality, from North American skies.  Uranus and Neptune are a challenge this month, as they also set with the evening sun.

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Mercury

05th April

Mercury is setting alongside the sun now, and is no longer visible in the evening sky.

15th April

Mercury rises with the morning sun, and is not visible due to its proximity to it.

25th April

Mercury is just barely visible in the low eastern sky, as the sun rises in the early morning.

Mercury continues to set alongside the evening sun, making it almost impossible to view during the month of April.  It is not easily visible until later in the month, when we can start to observe it shortly before sunrise, low on the eastern horizon.

Mercury is in its crescent phase and fainter than magnitude 1.2 all month.  It reaches inferior conjunction, when it passes between us and the sun, just prior to sunset on April 11th.  Then on April 18th Mercury passes 2° north of Venus.

The planet Mercury will be very challenging to view during the month of April, due to its proximity to the sun.

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Venus

05th April

As the sun rises, Venus is only 3° high in the southeastern sky, and almost impossible to see against the bright morning sun.

15th April

Ten days later, Venus is still only 3° high and not viewable due to the sunlight.

25th April

Venus continues to be elusive in the early morning sky, due to the brightness of the sun.

Venus is hidden from our view during the month of April, as it disappears into the early morning dawn.  Venus is now at its minimum magnitude for the year at -3.9.

On April 7th, the moon will pass in front of Venus, creating a lunar occultation, which unfortunately will not be visible due to the occurrence of it during daylight hours.  However Venus will be visible to the naked eye during the total solar eclipse, which will be seen from North America on April 8th. 

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Mars

05th April

Mars is slightly visible 10° above the ESE horizon in the early morning sky, just before sunrise.

15th April

Decreasing slightly in distance above the horizon to 8°, Mars is visible in the dawn glow.

25th April

Mars is visible an hour before sunrise. Here, it’s a low 6° above the eastern horizon at 5:30 a.m.

Mars is again a challenge to see in the sky this month.  We can view it shortly before sunrise each morning to the lower left of the moon, with visibility improving towards the latter half of the month. 

Mars has a conjunction with Saturn on the 11th, when the two planets are almost equally bright at magnitude 1.2°. See if you can directly compare them in the same low-magnification eyepiece view.

Mars will gradually become more visible in our early morning skies as we move further into spring.

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Jupiter

05th April

Jupiter is still visible in the early evening sky at 21°, shining brightly at magnitude -2.1 and is 33 arcseconds across.

15th April

Ten days later it is now at a mere 10°, shortly after sunset, and can be found in the western sky within Aries.

25th April

As we near the end of April, Jupiter remains at 10° and only viewable for a few minutes after sunset, as it heads below the horizon.

Jupiter is the brightest planet in the night sky during the month of April.  It is easily observable in the early evening for the first half of the month.  On the 10th, Jupiter can be seen only 4° south of the waxing crescent moon.

Jupiter has a rare conjunction with Uranus on the 20th, which happens roughly every 14 years.  Jupiter is slowly leaving our night sky this month, so take advantage of some final views before it disappears below the horizon.

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Saturn

05th April

At 6:30 in the morning, Saturn is only 8° high and sinking quickly into the horizon.

15th April

Saturn is visible for a few minutes shortly before sunrise, and can be found 9° high in the sky.

25th April

Saturn rises a little higher in the eastern sky, and is viewable an hour before sunrise.

Saturn continues to be visible low in the eastern sky for early morning risers.  As we move further into the month of April it becomes more easily viewable, and can be seen at 10° high in the early morning sky.  Saturn and Mars achieve a splendid conjunction on the 11th, just 0.5° apart, best seen just before the morning light on the eastern horizon.

By the end of the month, Saturn shines at a steady magnitude +1.2 with a disk size of 16.2 in the constellation of Aquarius.  We’ll see Saturn return to the evening skies again in few months.

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Uranus & Neptune

15th April – Uranus

Uranus is only 11° high in the early evening sky this month, making it a challenge to view as it sinks towards the horizon, shortly after sunset.

15th April – Neptune

Neptune appears at only 3° high in the early morning light.  It sinks below the horizon as the sun rises.

Uranus is best viewed in the early days of April, as it is still slightly visible in the early evening sky.  As we move towards the end of the month, Uranus is below the horizon and no longer visible.  Neptune sinks below the horizon as the sun rises, so it is unviewable during dark skies this month.

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All Planets Viewer

Use the table below to see when each of the planets is observable for each day this month. Click on it for full screen.

A planet is classed as observable when it is more than 10° above the horizon and the sky is dark enough for it to be observed.

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Planet ephemeris tables produced with the kind permission of Dominic Ford. Sky images are courtesy of SkySafari Pro 6.

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