Sky at Night – April 2020

Venus continues to dominate the western sky throughout April and will be very close to the open cluster of the Pleiades from 1st to 5th of the month with the best view being on 2 April. Through binoculars this will be a fantastic sight with the many stars of the cluster, and you should be able to see that Venus is a crescent. It is interesting to know that the Pleiades is 400 light-years away, so we are seeing the cluster as it was in the year 1620*. Venus on the other hand is only 6 light-minutes away!

The third of our ‘supermoons’ will be visible on 8 April, which is the closest of the supermoons so far this year.

The Lyrids meteor shower should be visible on 22 & 23 April and is best viewed after midnight. Meteor numbers can be variable but approximately 15 to 20 per hour can be expected and they usually leave a long persistent trace.

On 26 April, Venus again makes a wonderful sight just above a thin crescent moon. Enjoy the spectacle!

* 1620: the year the Pilgrim Fathers left England in the Mayflower bound for America! – ed.