Some daily events in the changing sky for April 27 May 5.
Friday, April 27
Try looking with binoculars or a telescope about 75 minutes before sunrise, depending on the clarity of the air. To find your local sunrise time, make sure you've put your location and current time zone into our online almanac.
Saturday, April 28
Sunday, April 29
Monday, April 30
Tuesday, May 1
Wednesday, May 2
Thursday, May 3
Friday, May 4
Saturday, May 5
Want to become a better amateur astronomer? Learn your way around the constellations. They're the key to locating everything fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope. For an easy-to-use constellation guide covering the whole evening sky, use the big monthly foldout map in each issue of Sky & Telescope, the essential magazine of astronomy. Or download our free Getting Started in Astronomy booklet (which only has bimonthly maps).
Once you get a telescope, to put it to good use you'll need a detailed, large-scale sky atlas (set of maps; the standard is Sky Atlas 2000.0) and good deep-sky guidebooks (such as Sky Atlas 2000.0 Companion or the enchanting though dated Burnham's Celestial Handbook). Read here how to use them most effectively.
More beginners' tips: "How to Start Right in Astronomy".
This Week's Planet Roundup
Mercury is hidden in the glare of the Sun.
Venus (magnitude 4.1, in Taurus) is the brilliant "Evening Star" in the west during and after twilight. A few degrees to Venus's right, watch the not-quite-first-magnitude star Beta Tauri moving downward day by day.
Mars (magnitude +1.0, in Aquarius) still remains low in the east-southeast during dawn.
Jupiter (magnitude 2.5, in southern Ophiuchus) rises around 11 p.m. daylight saving time and dominates the south before dawn. Antares, less bright, sparkles 10° to Jupiter's upper right when they rise, and to its lower right by daybreak. There's a lot doing on Jupiter this season; see article. The clearest telescopic views are before and during dawn, when Jupiter is highest.
Saturn (magnitude +0.4, at the Leo-Cancer border) shines high in the southwest during evening. Regulus, less bright at magnitude +1.4, is 12° to its left or upper left. North of Regulus is 2.3-magnitude Algieba (Gamma Leonis), a fine telescopic double star.
Uranus (magnitude 6, in Aquarius) is very low in the east-southeast before dawn, in the background of Mars.
Neptune (magnitude 8, in Capricornus) low in the southeast before dawn.
Pluto (magnitude 14, in northwestern Sagittarius) is not far from Jupiter in the south before dawn.
All descriptions that relate to your horizon including the words up, down, right, and left are written for the world's midnorthern latitudes. Descriptions that also depend on longitude (mainly Moon positions) are for North America. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) equals Universal Time (UT, UTC, or GMT) minus 4 hours.