April Night Sky Guide (April 2024)

The April night sky has many highlights, including bright planet pairings with the Moon, shooting stars, and the Full Pink Moon. A few sky events worth noting: Day becomes night with the Great Solar Eclipse, the Moon “kisses” Jupiter one last time, and meteor shower season kicks off with the Lyrids (from constellation Lyra). Plan your night sky adventures each month with the Farmers’ Almanac Night Sky Guide!

Watch out for the telescope emoji – 🔭 – which means we recommend binoculars or telescopes. Looking for a great starter telescope or more? Check out our Starry Nights Gift Guide.

April Night Sky Guide 2024 by Farmers' Almanac.
Here’s a taste of what’s to come in the April night sky 2024.

April Night Sky Guide

Farmers’ Almanac has provided Night Sky Guides and astronomical information since 1818. All times and positions are listed in Eastern time, 40 degrees north of the equator—unless otherwise listed. This includes many parts of the United States, such as cities in the central and northern states like New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco.

If you see the terms sunset, midnight, sunrise or local time, this is true no matter where you are located (no need to add or subtract for your time zone). Have questions? Ask us in the comment section at the end of this article!

April 1 – Last Quarter Moon And Mercury

About 45 minutes after sunset, look west-northwest to catch Mercury low on the horizon. This will be one of your last chances before Mercury becomes lost in the bright glow of the Sun. Mercury retrograde begins today (April 1-25, 2024).

The last quarter Moon occurs on April 1, 2024 at 11:15 p.m. EDT.

🔭 April 6 – Crescent Moon Triangle: Saturn, Moon, Mars

Approximately one half hour before sunrise, grab your binoculars and gaze towards the east-southeast horizon. You might catch a glimpse of a thin, waning crescent Moon. Two visible planets will hang nearby as “stars” forming a triangle in the sky, as illustrated here:

April night sky 2024 with Saturn, the Moon, and Mars.
Early-risers, watch for the Crescent Moon Triangle before sunrise on April 6, 2024.

Saturn (magnitude of +1.1) sits about two degrees above the Moon, while Mars (approximately the same brightness, magnitude +1.2), will be to the upper right.

As April begins, Saturn, located in Aquarius, gradually rises in the east (and slightly to the south) during the early predawn twilight. Mars also rises just south of east during the morning twilight.

April 7 – Crescent Moon And Venus

Up for a challenge? Just before dawn breaks today, look east and see if you can glimpse a very thin crescent Moon and Venus to the lower left. Despite Venus being very bright, daylight is increasing, making it difficult—if not impossible—to spot.

This month, Venus rises less than thirty minutes before the Sun, and its bright light is hidden by the Sun’s brightness for a longer time than usual. Observers who are around 40 degrees north will have to wait until July or August to see Venus appear very low in the sky during sunset, when it becomes visible again.

⭐ April 8 – Total Solar Eclipse And New Moon “Star View”

The Great Solar Eclipse occurs on April 8, 2024. Don’t miss this rare event! The next chance to witness a total solar eclipse in North America won’t happen until March 2033, which will require travel to western Alaska.

April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse photo by Brandon Spring in Shirley Mills, Maine

April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse photograph by Brandon Spring in Shirley Mills, Maine

Fun fact: Two planets may become visible on either side of the Sun/Moon during this total eclipse: Jupiter and Venus (to the left and right, respectively).

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Along with this event, the New Moon occurs at 2:21 p.m. EDT. New Moons are excellent times for stargazing!

Tonight, look south at around 9pm local Daylight Saving Time to catch a glimpse of Leo, the lion. One of the brightest stars in Leo is Regulus, which represents the lion’s heart.

⭐ 🔭 April 10 – The Moon Kisses Jupiter – Again!

Thirty minutes after the Sun goes down, look to the west-northwest part of the sky to see a thin waxing crescent Moon. Just below and to the left you’ll see the bright planet Jupiter.

Sky guide showing Jupiter, Uranus, and the Moon.
Farmers’ Almanac Night Sky Guide tells you every sky event worth watching each month!

Throughout the month of April, Jupiter will slowly move lower and lower down in the west-northwest, eventually leaving the evening sky. This means that you won’t be able to see the Moon and Jupiter hanging together and “kissing” in the night sky as you may have seen each month since Valentine’s Day.

If you use a telescope, you’ll notice that Jupiter looks smaller than it did when it was opposite the Sun last November, now appearing to be about two-thirds of that size. You may even catch a glimpse of Uranus, situated above Jupiter.

April 11 – Mercury Disappears!

Today, Mercury reaches a spot in its orbit where it lines up between the Sun and Earth (inferior conjunction).

But by the middle of April, Mercury will rise on the eastern horizon just before the Sun comes up, but it will be nearly impossible to see (even through a telescope) because the planet will be very low not very bright.

April 15 – First Quarter Moon

The first quarter Moon occurs at 3:13 p.m. EDT.

April 16-20  “Star-hop” to Arcturus

Have you ever star-hopped before? Star-hopping is when you use one star pattern to locate another! This week, star-hop from the Big Dipper to one of the brightest stars, Arcturus! Here’s how: 

Go outside at 10 p.m. local daylight time on a clear night and look to the northern sky. You will easily spot the Big Dipper high in the April sky. (The dipper’s ladle-like shape will appear to be upside down.) 

Imagine extending the curved line of the Big Dipper’s handle further to the right (east). This imaginary line will lead you to Arcturus, located in the constellation known as Boötes the Herdsman.

Arcturus is the brightest star you can see in the northern part of the sky at this time—even brighter than other well-known stars like Vega and Capella.

Yet Arcturus wasn’t visible to us without a telescope until about 500,000 years ago, and it’s possible that in another 500,000 years, we won’t be able to see it without help again. This is not because of the star’s changes, but because it’s very far from Earth.

Arcturus is moving quickly through space and will come closer to Earth over the next few thousand years. The astronomer Edmund Halley noticed in 1718 that this bright star had moved from the spot where the ancient astronomer Claudius Ptolemy had recorded it around 150 A.D.

Traveling about 90 miles per second, it has shifted toward the southwest by 2.5 Moon diameters in 2000 years. Watching how Arcturus moves is a great example of how stars and other objects in space are always in motion.

⭐ April 21-22 — Catch A Shooting Star!

The Lyrid Meteor Shower reaches peak activity in the early hours of April 22, 2024. Look east and overhead between the hours of 2-4 a.m.

A shooting star from the Lyrid Meteor Shower over pine trees.

Unfortunately, the full Moon will be blazing in the April sky, which will squelch the majority of shooting stars from this annual shower. But there is still a chance you may catch some bright ones! If weather conditions are perfect, 10 to 15 meteors per hour may be visible.

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⭐ April 23 – Full Pink Moon

The Full Pink Moon reaches peak illumination at 7:49 p.m. EDT.

Related Product: Pink Moon Bracelet

April 25 — Mercury Retrograde Ends

Mercury retrograde ends today, which means the planet appears to resume its direct motion.

🔭  April 30 – Mercury

If skies are clear, binoculars may show Mercury (magnitude +1.2) an hour before sunrise, near the eastern horizon.

Join The Discussion

Which sky event are you looking forward to in the April night sky?

Do you have any questions or suggestions for our night sky guides?

Share with your community here in the comments below!

Joe Rao is an expert astronomer.
Joe Rao

Joe Rao is an esteemed astronomer who writes for Space.com, Sky & Telescope, and Natural History Magazine. Mr. Rao is a regular contributor to the Farmers' Almanac and serves as an associate lecturer for the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

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