Daily Guide

A detailed guide to the night sky written by a NASA expert featuring full Moon lore, asteroid flybys, stars, galaxies, constellations, and more.

A dark sky full of stars expands over a mountainscape still aglow with the setting Sun.

April 9-15, 2024

  • Tuesday evening, April 9, 2024, it should be interesting to see the comet 12P/Pons-Brooks and the thin, waxing crescent Moon low on the horizon as twilight ends, as the Moon will not be very bright and should not interfere much with seeing the comet. Nautical or evening twilight will end (at 8:40 PM EDT) with the Moon 4.2 degrees above the horizon and the comet above the Moon at 10.8 degrees above the horizon. The Moon will set (at 9:08 PM) just 5 minutes before astronomical twilight ends (at 9:13 PM), when the comet will be 4.6 degrees above the horizon.
  • In the mornings throughout this lunar cycle the planets Saturn and Mars will appear near each other low on the east-southeastern horizon. Both will appear to shift higher each morning, with Saturn shifting more than Mars. Wednesday morning, April 10, 2024, will be when the pair will be at their closest. As twilight begins (at 5:38 AM EDT) the slightly brighter Saturn will appear 3 degrees above the horizon with Mars 0.5 degrees above Saturn.
  • Wednesday evening, April 10, 2024, the bright planet Jupiter will appear 4 degrees to the lower left of the waxing crescent Moon. The Moon will be 17 degrees above the west-northwestern horizon as twilight ends (at 8:41 PM EDT) and Jupiter will set first 77 minutes later (at 9:58 PM).
  • Thursday evening, April 11, 2024, the Pleiades star cluster will appear 6 degrees to the lower right of the waxing crescent Moon. The Moon will be 30 degrees above the western horizon as twilight ends (at 8:42 PM EDT) and the Pleiades will set first a little over 2 hours later (at about 11 PM).
  • Thursday evening, April 11, 2024, the planet Mercury will be passing between the Earth and the Sun, called inferior conjunction. Planets that orbit inside of the orbit of Earth can have two types of conjunctions with the Sun, inferior (when passing between the Earth and the Sun) and superior (when passing on the far side of the Sun). Mercury will be shifting from the evening sky to the morning sky and will begin emerging from the glow of the dawn on the eastern horizon later in April (depending upon viewing conditions).
  • Sunday evening into early Monday morning, April 14 to 15, 2024, the bright star Pollux (the brighter of the twins in the constellation Gemini the twins) will appear to the upper left of the waxing crescent Moon. As twilight ends (at 8:45 PM EDT) Pollux will be 8 degrees from the Moon. By the time the Moon sets on the west-northwestern horizon (at 2:39 AM), Pollux will be 5 degrees from the Moon.
  • Monday afternoon, April 15, 2024, the Moon will appear half-full as it reaches its first quarter at 3:13 PM EDT (when it will be daylight with the Moon visible in the eastern sky).
  • Monday evening into early Tuesday morning, April 15 to 16, 2024, the half-Moon will have shifted such that the bright star Pollux will appear to the lower right of the Moon. As twilight ends (at 8:45 PM EDT) Pollux will be 6 degrees from the Moon and the pair will appear to separate as the night progresses, reaching 8 degrees apart around 1:30 AM.

Past Guides

An archive of retired NASA executive Gordon Johnston's monthly skywatching column.

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