Weymouth Astronomy

The Planets - April 2018

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 in front of the Sun (inferior conjunction) on April 1st and reaches greatest western elongation of 27 degrees on April 29th.


Venus (seen low in the west after sunset) starts the month in Aries, passes into Taurus on the 20th before passing between the Hyades and Pleiades Clusters on the 27th.


Mars starts the month in Sagittarius close to the topmost star of the 'teapot' close to Saturn. Now a morning object Mars rises at around 2am at the start of the month.


Jupiter rises in the east-southeast about three hours after sunset at the beginning of the month and about two hour earlier by month's end. Jupiter reaches opposition on the night of May 8/9th. Sadly lying in Libra during the month the gas giant is heading towards the southern part of the ecliptic and will only have an elevation of 20 degrees when crossing the meridian.


Saturn rises at around 2:15am at the start of the month and just after 1am at its end. The rings were at their widest a few months ago and are still at 26 degrees to the line of sight and spanning 2.5 times the size of Saturn's globe.

Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine