Tour April’s Sky! | March 29th, 2013

This is “Global Astronomy Month”, and skywatchers around the world have lined up all kinds of online activities. But you can enjoy your own "star party" by just stepping outside.

Look west after sunset, and you’ll see dazzling Jupiter (with Aldebaran below it) and likewise brilliant Sirius on either side of Orion, the Hunter, who is studded with bright stars. Above the three stars of Orion’s belt is the red-supergiant star Betelgeuse, while below them is blue-white Rigel.

Saturn and Spica in April
Finding Saturn and Spica after they rise in the east is aided in late April by the nearly full Moon.
Sky & Telesope diagram
Meanwhile, on April 28th, Saturn is at opposition (opposite the Sun in the sky). On that date, when the Sun sets in the west, Saturn will be rising in the east and take all night to cross the sky. Earlier in April Saturn rises within an hour or so of sunset and is well up by about 10 p.m.

This month also features a chance to the Lyrid meteor shower, which peaks on the 22nd. Its relatively few "shooting stars" will appear weaker due to strong light from a nearly full Moon.

For more skywatching tips, download April's audio sky tour.

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