Farmers Almanac
The Farmers Almanac
ORDER our 200th Year
2018 Edition!

Look Up! A Stargazer’s Guide to April 2017

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Add to Google+ Share on Pinterest Subscribe by Email Print This Post
Look Up! A Stargazer’s Guide to April 2017

Here’s a calendar of events going on in the night and morning sky during the month of April, 2017, including a meteor shower, a pairing of the Moon and Jupiter, and much more!

All times Eastern Daylight Time, for the Northern Hemisphere.

April 1 — Mercury reaches its greatest elongation (19°) from the Sun.  This marks its best evening apparition of 2017 for mid-northern skywatchers, with the planet setting after evening twilight ends – about 90 minutes after sundown – for more than a week. Mercury is almost directly above the setting Sun throughout this apparition, since at this time of year the ecliptic makes its steepest angle with the western evening. Look to the west about an hour after sunset to see the elusive planet hugging the horizon. Best viewed with binoculars.

April 2 — Stargazers take note! Look toward the west after nightfall to see the waxing crescent Moon (40% illuminated) inside the Winter Circle asterism. This formation of stars looks more like a hexagon than a circle, and is made up of seven colorful stars:  Sirius (white), Rigel (blue), Aldebaran (orange), Capella (yellow), Castor (white) & Pollux (orange), and Procyon (yellowish-white).

(Continued Below)

April 3 —First Quarter Moon, 2:39 p.m. In this phase, the Moon looks like a half-Moon in the sky. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing, on its way toward full.

April 6 — Look to the southeast and dusk to see the Moon less than 2 degrees from the star Regulus. Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.

April 7 — Jupiter is at opposition, meaning opposite the Sun. It will rise in the east near sunset and will remain in the sky all night long. Around this time it is closest to Earth for the year.

April 10 — Look to the east at nightfall to see the nearly-full Moon just 3 degrees from Jupiter.

April 11 — April’s Full Pink Moon will be astronomically full at 2:08 a.m. In this phase, the visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Though the Moon is only technically in this phase for a few seconds, it will appear full for about 3 days. This is the first full Moon of the spring season.

Learn more about this Moon by watching the short video here!

April 15 —The waning gibbous Moon is at apogee, its farthest point from Earth. (An easy way to remember: Apogee = Away)

April 16 —  In the morning, look to see the waning gibbous Moon just 5 degrees from Saturn.

April 16 — Look to the west at nightfall to see the “Seven Sisters” (known as the Pleiades Star Cluster) hover above Mars.

April 19 — Last quarter Moon, 5:57 p.m. In this phase, the Moon appears as a half Moon in the sky. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing, heading toward the New Moon (invisible) phase.

April 21 — Late Friday night into the early morning hours of Saturday, look for the Lyrid meteor showers. Up to 10 “shooting stars” per hour radiate from a spot near the brilliant bluish star Vega. The waning crescent moon will not rise until after 4 a.m., thus assuring dark skies most of the night. The peak usually lasts for just a few hours; its predicted time this year is 12h UT, good-to-excellent for North America.  These meteors are the dust left behind by Comet Thatcher, which visited the inner solar system in 1861.

April 26 – New Moon, 8:16 a.m. At this stage, the Moon is not illuminated by direct sunlight and is completely invisible to the naked eye.

April 27— The barely visible waxing Moon (3% illuminated) is at perigee, its closest point in its orbit to Earth for the month.

April 30 — This is a great time to view Venus, as it will reach its greatest brilliancy on Sunday morning before sunrise. It will be so bright, in fact, that around the times of its greatest brilliancy, people have often mistaken it for a UFO! Look to the east, with or without binoculars.

Articles you might also like...


There are no comments yet...

Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment

Note: Comments that further the discussion of the above content are likely to be approved. Those comments that are vague or are simply submitted in order to promote a product, service or web site, although not necessarily considered "spam," are generally not approved.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

Spring Is Here – Sign Up Today!

The Farmers' Almanac is a gardener's best friend. Get 365 days of access to our online weather and gardening calendars + a copy of the 2017 Almanac
for only $13.99 $11.99!

Subscribe Today »