Best of April astro events

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“AstroBob” Bob King says there are a few must-see events in the night sky this month.

  1. Venus and Mercury in the evening sky: “About 40-45 minutes to an hour after sunset, you can use Venus to help you find the planet Mercury, which is a lot more elusive,” King said. Because Mercury is the innermost planet, you always see it in twilight, King says. He says to look at Venus in the west-northwestern sky, reach your fist out, go two fists below Venus and to the right, and you may be able to see Mercury. He suggests bringing binoculars to help you find it.
  2. Venus passes Pleiades (Seven Sisters) on April 10: “Venus is going to be passing below and to the left of the Pleiades from April 9 through the 12. And anytime you can see Venus in the sky brightly during that time, look close above it and you’ll see that cluster,” King said. He recommends binoculars for best viewing of Pleiades too.
  3. Full Pink Moon on April 5: “The reason it’s called Pink Moon is actually because it’s named for a flower called Moss Pink. And it’s not a flower we have here this time of year, but Moss Pink, another name for it is creeping phlox, so it’s a phlox-like flower that’s out in the northeastern U.S.,” King said. “Locally, though, the Ojibwe people know it as the Sugarbushing Moon, which clicks for us.” It may not be clear to see the full moon at 7:23 p.m. Wednesday, but you can see it around 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The moon is also rising over Lake Superior at this point in the year, making an especially beautiful sight.

King posts astronomy updates on his Facebook page.