Weymouth Astronomy

The Planets - April 2020

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 is lost in the Sun's glare this month, so cannot be observed.


Venus is still dominating the south-western twilight sky. It reached greatest elongation east from the Sun on the 24th March but is still near its highest possible altitude and April is still one of the very best months to observe it.


The red plabet Mars can be seen towards the southeast in the pre-dawn sky at the start of the month. By the end of the month it will have moved over to the east of Capricornus, having started the month just below Saturn it rapidly leaves Saturn and Jupiter as it crosses Capricornus.


As April begins, Jupiter rises some three and a half hours before the Sun shining at magnitude -2.1. It then follows Mars and preceeds Saturn, just above Mars into the pre-dawn sky.


At the begining of April Saturn rises around 04:15 and climbs approx 8 degrees above the south-eastern horizon at twilight around 05:20. On the 21st of the month Saturn reaches 'quadrature', 90 degrees in angle from the Sun enhancing the three-dimensioanality of its globe and rings.

Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine