Weymouth Astronomy

The Planets - April 2021

Observing the planets can be extremely rewarding. Everyone remembers the first time they observed Saturn and it's rings or the gas giant Jupiter and it's Galillean Moons. Solar System


Mercury passes behind the Sun on the 18th of April and reappears, just up to the right of Venus in the west-northwest after sunset on the 25th of the month. It rapidly climbes up into the sky and by the 30th of the month will lie 4 degrees above Venus.


Around the 18th of the month Venus, having passsed behind the Sun, will appear again just north of west after sunset. By the end of the month it will still only have an elevation of 5 degrees at sunset. Venus will grace the evening sky for the rest of this year and reaches its greatest elongation east from the Sun on October the 29th.


Having passed between the Hyades and Pleoades clusters last month is now high in the constellation of Taurus. Mars passes into Gemini on the 23rd of the month and will be best seen high in the west soon after nightfall and will be still visible in the evening sky until August.


As April begins and given a low horizon towards the southeast Jupiter, rising at 05:17 BST may be glimpsed just before dawn. Sadly, given its low elevation of 10 degrees as dawn approaches will greatly hinder our view of the solar system's giant planet.


Saturn precedes Jupiter into the sky rising at 05:00 BST at the beginning of the month. Again a low horizon towards the south-east will be needed to see them both.

Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine