Sky Watch with PPL Senior Naturalist, Jon Beam
In April, the Big Dipper approaches its highest point in the early evening sky. The dipper will be turned over with the handle pointing down and to the east. Venus is low in the dawn sky visible on the eastern horizon just before sunrise. At nightfall, Saturn is low in the east and climbs high into the southeast as the night progresses. New Moon was on April 3, first quarter on April 10, Full Moon on the 17th, and last quarter on the 24th. The Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks on the night of April 21-22. It can produce 10-20 meteors per hour. These tend to be bright and leave glowing trails. Unfortunately, the waning gibbous moon will mask all but the brightest meteors.
New Moon is on May 3, first quarter on May 10, Full Moon on the 16th, and last quarter on the 24th. Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter huddle together low above the eastern horizon at dawn during the second week of May. You can spot bright Venus easily but need binoculars to see the others. Saturn glows in the southeast all month in the evening sky. The star Spica sparkles to its lower left.
New Moon is on June 1, first quarter on May 8, Full Moon on the 15th, and last quarter on the 23rd. The summer solstice is on June 21st. Astronomical summer begins. Saturn stands high in the southwestern sky after dark while Venus is lost in the glow of dawn. You can still see Venus just above the east-northeast horizon about a half hour before sunrise.