Sky notes from Brian Woosnam of the North Wales Astronomy Society

The late evening sky is now much taken over by the constellations traditionally associated with spring. Leo is high on the meridian to the south at 11pm BST. With the open “Y” of Virgo filling much of the sky to its southeast. The Plough’s familiar “seven stars” – the main body of the sprawling Ursa Major – occupy the midnight zenith.

Moon phases

First quarter 1st/30th Full moon 8th (Supermoon 33.7) Last quarter 14th

The planets

Venus is the brightest planet this month in evening sky in Taurus and will be visible in the west for a few hours after sunset. On the 1st Venus will be very close to the Pleiades open cluster. On the evening of the 26th Venus and the waxing crescent moon will be 6 degrees apart.

Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are all early morning objects. Jupiter rises 90 minutes before the Sun in the southeast in Sagittarius on the 15th the waning crescent moon very close and along with saturn the three will form a triangle.

Saturn will also rise in the southeast 90 minutes before the Sun in Capricornus and will be just left of Jupiter.

Mars will rise 75 minutes before the Sun in the southeast also in Capricornus and to the left of Saturn. On the morning of the 16th Mars will be just above the thin crescent moon.

The Lyrids meteor shower 19th - 25th but maximum is on the 22nd. This is the remains of comet Thatcher 1861, and the radiant of the shower lies on the border of Lyra and Hercules just South West of the

bright star Vega. This will be found in the North East at 11pm BST, East between midnight and 1am, South East between 2am and 3am and South between 4am and 5am. Between 10 and 15 meteors can been seen on a clear night.

The Constellations

8pm BST

Bootes low in the East, Virgo rising in the East, the Plough in the S-East, Cancer and Saturn in the South, Gemini in the S-West and Orion low in the West.


Hercules raising in the East, Bootes in the East, The Plough S East, Leo South, Cancer S West and Gemini S West.


Hercules high in East, Bootes S East, Jupiter low S East, Virgo also S East, Leo South, Gemini West and Cancer S West.


Vega Lyra N East, Bootes S East, Virgo S S East, Leo, the Plough, and

Cancer S west, Gemini West.


Vega \Lyra and Hercules East, Virgo South, Bootes S East, Leo and the Plough South

West Cancer West.

Deep sky objects

M64, M61, M51, M60, NGC4647, and M59

Events during April

Wednesday 1st if you're up early look to the southeast low down around 5am and see if you can spot Mars and Saturn, they will be 1 degree apart.

Thursday 2

nd Asteroid Juno 3 reaches opposition this evening in Virgo.

Friday 3

rd Bright Venus will cross the Pleiades open cluster,

Wednesday 8

th the full moon this morning at 2.35ut will be at perigee so a supermoon. If you look at Jupiter around 4.30ut see if you can spot Ganymede's shadow on Jupiter's central meridian.


11th if you're up early 4.30ut take a look in the southeast and see f you can spot the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn forming a tri angle.


16th the Moon ad Mas will beer close is morning only3degrees apart.


22nd the peak of the annual Lyrid meteor shower as its new moon you should be able to see a good display.


25th the bright planet Venus reaches a 30% phase today

Sunday 26

th The crescent Moon and Venus will be 6 degrees part this evening.

Monday 27

th the waxing moon will be 2 degrees from M35 the open cluster n Gemini.

Thursday 30

th tonight the moon has its second first quarter phase of the month.