Each Monday I pick out the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses and more.
What To See In The Night Sky This Week: April 11-17, 2022
This week sees the Moon waxing towards its full phase, so it’s not the ideal time for stargazing. So instead why not spend it checking-out a rare “planetary parade” and, of course, get your timing right to see the “Pink Moon” appear on the horizon.
Tuesday, April 12, 2022: Mercury rising
If you’ve never seen the tiny planet Mercury then cast your eyes to the west immediately after sunset to have a chance of seeing it. Get up somewhere with a view low to the horizon and grab some binoculars.
Thursday, April 14, 2022: Lyrids meteor shower begins
Tonight is the beginning of the Lyrids meteor shower, which continues until April 30 yet peaks on the night of April 22. At that time you can expect to see about 18 “shooting stars” per hour, though this week you’re only going to see a few sporadic meteors.
Saturday, April 16, 2022: A planetary parade and a full ‘Pink Moon’
April has so far seen a lot of close conjunctions between the three planets—Saturn, Mars and Venus—but this morning before sunrise they are joined by a fourth. Giant planet Jupiter should be visible this morning just before sunrise. and will rise higher into the morning sky as the month progresses.
Go get some rest and come back for dusk when you’ll be able to see a beautiful full “Pink Moon” rising in the east a deep orange color. It’s called the “paschal” Moon this year because it determines the date of the lunar festival of Easter, which is on Sunday—the first Sunday after the first full Moon after the March equinox. .
Planet of the week: Jupiter
After being obscured by the Sun for the last few weeks, the giant planet Jupiter has now emerged into the morning sky. If you get up before sunrise, at least 30 minutes before, and look towards the east you’ll see Jupiter rising with bright and Venus to its upper right, and further beyond Venus, Mars, then Saturn.
Object of the week: the Beehive Cluster
With the winter constellations or Orion and Taurus now sinking in the west come sunset it’s time to embrace the spring stars. Although the faint constellation its home to is not much to speak of, Cancer “the crab” is home to the Beehive Cluster (M44), one of the nearest open clusters to Earth and a beautiful sight in binoculars. In a dark sky you’ll also see it with the naked eye.
Times and dates given apply to mid-northern latitudes. For the most accurate location-specific information consult online planetariums like Stellarium and The Sky Live. Check planet-rise/planet-set, sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset times for where you are.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.