The Astronomical Events of April 2024

April 2024 offers a double treat: flowers unfolding by day and stars unveiling by night. Here's your daily guide to the cosmic dance overhead.

As the earth bursts into a tapestry of blossoms this April 2024, the skies above prepare their own magnificent showcase. The transition from winter’s silent, dark nights to April’s vibrant, starlit evenings is much like watching nature awaken from its slumber. 

Just as daisie’s petals stretch towards the sun, the stars and celestial bodies put on a nightly display that rivals any springtime bloom.

Please note this skywatching guide is for the northern hemisphere. If you live in the south, I recommend this guide: Guide to the Night Sky Southern Hemisphere (aff link)


At this phase, half of the Moon’s surface is illuminated. It marks the midpoint between a full moon and a new moon. This is the point when the right half of the moon (from a Northern Hemisphere perspective) is visible and the left half is in darkness.

Mars 2.0°N of Moon (Apr 05, 21:51 CST)

On this date, Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, will be notably close to the Moon in the sky, just 2.0° to the north. When celestial bodies come close together in the sky, it’s known as a conjunction. This can create a captivating visual spectacle, especially if viewed in a location with minimal light pollution.

Saturn 1.2°N of Moon: Occn. (Apr 06, 03:20 CST)

Saturn, the sixth planet from the Sun known for its iconic rings, will be positioned just 1.2° north of the Moon. The term “Occn.” denotes an occultation, meaning the Moon will momentarily hide or “occult” Saturn from our view on Earth.

Venus 0.4°S of Moon: Occn. (Apr 07, 10:39 CST)

Venus, often called the “evening star” or “morning star”, will appear remarkably close to the Moon, just 0.4° to the south. During this close encounter, the Moon will occult Venus, causing the bright planet to momentarily disappear and then reappear.

Moon at Perigee (Apr 07, 11:53 CST)

The Moon follows an elliptical orbit around the Earth. Perigee marks the point in this orbit when the Moon is closest to our planet. On this date, the Moon’s distance will be approximately 358,850 km, which can result in a slightly larger appearance in the night sky.

Moon at Ascending Node (Apr 08, 06:20 CST)

As the Moon orbits Earth, it sometimes moves from the southern half to the northern half of the sky. This transition point is known as the ascending node.

Total Solar Eclipse; mag=1.057 (Apr 08, 12:17 CST)

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon perfectly aligns between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow upon the Earth. This event offers a unique opportunity to see the Sun’s corona, its outer atmosphere. The magnitude of 1.057 indicates a nearly complete eclipse where the Moon almost fully covers the Sun.

NEW MOON (Apr 08, 12:21 CST)

During a new moon, the side of the Moon that’s illuminated by the Sun faces away from the Earth. This means the Moon is in line with the Sun, rendering it virtually invisible from our perspective.

Mars 0.4°N of Saturn (Apr 10, 13:00 CST)

The red planet Mars will closely approach Saturn in the sky, appearing just 0.4° to the north. This close proximity, or conjunction, can offer a captivating visual contrast between the reddish hue of Mars and the yellowish tint of Saturn.

Jupiter 4.0°S of Moon (Apr 10, 15:08 CST)

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, will be located 4.0° south of the Moon. With its bright glow, Jupiter can often be easily spotted with the naked eye, making conjunctions like this a treat for observers.

Pleiades 0.4°N of Moon (Apr 11, 06:38 CST)

The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, is a bright star cluster in the constellation Taurus. On this date, it will appear just 0.4° north of the Moon, offering a dazzling juxtaposition of the star cluster next to our natural satellite.

Mercury at Inferior Conjunction (Apr 11, 17:00 CST)

Mercury will be at its inferior conjunction, meaning it will lie between the Earth and the Sun. During this alignment, Mercury is usually not visible due to the glare of the Sun.

Pollux 1.5°N of Moon (Apr 15, 07:47 CST)

Pollux is one of the twin stars in the constellation Gemini. On this date, it will be found 1.5° north of the Moon, providing an opportunity to identify this bright star near our lunar neighbor.


At this phase, the Moon is halfway between the new and full moon phases, and half of its surface is illuminated. Observers from the Northern Hemisphere will see the right half lit, creating a beautiful half-moon appearance in the night sky.

Regulus 3.6°S of Moon (Apr 18, 05:14 CST)

Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo, will be positioned 3.6° south of the Moon. This close proximity in the sky can make it easier to identify Regulus.

Moon at Apogee (Apr 19, 20:09 CST)

Opposite of perigee, the Moon’s apogee is the point in its orbit when it’s farthest from Earth. At this time, its distance will be approximately 405,625 km, causing the Moon to appear slightly smaller in the sky.

Lyrid Meteor Shower (Apr 22, 01:00 CST)

Originating from the constellation Lyra, the Lyrids are an annual meteor shower. Observers can expect to see meteors streaking across the night sky, remnants of the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.

Moon at Descending Node (Apr 22, 04:45 CST)

As the Moon orbits Earth, it will transition from the northern half of the sky to the southern half, a point known as the descending node.

Spica 1.5°S of Moon (Apr 22, 20:02 CST)

Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, will be located 1.5° south of the Moon. This juxtaposition can help stargazers identify this blue giant star.

FULL MOON (Apr 23, 17:49 CST)

The entire face of the Moon will be illuminated, presenting a full circle in the sky. Full moons can be especially bright and are often associated with various cultural myths and stories.

Antares 0.3°S of Moon (Apr 26, 14:00 CST)

Antares, a bright and reddish star in the heart of the Scorpius constellation, will be situated 0.3° south of the Moon. Its distinct red hue contrasting with the bright glow of the Moon can make for a striking visual.

Note: Some astronomical events in this list were sourced from Sky Event Almanacs – Courtesy of Fred Espenak at

April Moon Phases

Here’s the chronology of the major lunar phases for the month:

Additionally, you may use my moon calculator to find out the phase for any day. 

My recommended surface feature to observe this April

  1. Craters: The Moon’s surface is covered in craters, remnants of ancient meteor impacts. This month, try to find the Plato and Archimedes Craters
  2. Maria: These are the large, dark, basaltic plains on the Moon, formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. This month, try to find Mare Fecunditatis (Sea of Fertility) and Mare Frigoris (Sea of Cold).
  3. Mountain Ranges: Lunar mountains, such as the Apennine Mountains, provide a rugged contrast to the Maria. They can be quite a sight, especially when the light casts long shadows over them during the First and Last Quarter phases. This month, try to find Montes Carpatus (Carpathian Mountains) and Montes Rook (Rook Mountains).

Planetary Highlights

The opening months of the year have posed challenges for planet enthusiasts, with many celestial bodies concealed by the Sun’s brilliance. April follows suit, with Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Neptune remaining tantalizingly close to our star, making any observation impossible.

Jupiter still holds the title of the brightest planet this month, shining bright at a -2 of apparent magnitude and located within the Aries constellation. The Moon pays it a close visit on the 10th.

Uranus trails Jupiter in the night sky, but its greater distance renders it much dimmer. On the 20th, the two planets gracefully converge, offering a delightful planetary conjunction for skywatchers.

Constellations best seen in April

Among the 88 modern constellations in our night sky, here are the eight that are most clearly visible this month.

Antlia – The Air Pump (Ant)

  • Hemisphere: Southern
  • Size: 239 square degrees of the sky
  • Visible between latitudes: 45 and -90°
  • RA/DEC: 10 hours / -35°
  • Stars: 4
  • Constellation family: Lacaille
Antlia constellation

Chameleon (Cha)

  • Hemisphere: Southern
  • Size: 132 square degrees of the sky
  • Visible between latitudes: 0 and -90°
  • RA/DEC: 11 hours and -80°
  • Stars: 6
  • Constellation family: Johann Bayer
Chamaeleon constellation

Crater – The Cup (Cra)

  • Hemisphere: Southern
  • Size: 282 square degrees of the sky
  • Visible between latitudes: 65 and -90°
  • RA/DEC: 11 hours / -15°
  • Stars: 8
  • Constellation family: Hercules
Crater constellation

Hydra – The Sea Serpent (Hya)

  • Hemisphere: Southern
  • Size: 1303 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 60 and -90 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 10 hours / -20 degrees
  • Asterism: 18 stars
  • Constellation Family: Hercules
hydra constellation

Leo – The Lion (Leo)

  • Hemisphere: Northern
  • Size: 947 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 90 and -65 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 11 hours / 15° north declination
  • Asterism: 9 stars
  • Constellation Family: Zodiac
leo constellation

Leo Minor – The Lion Cub (LMi)

  • Hemisphere: Northern
  • Size: 232 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 90 and -45 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 10 hours / 35 degrees
  • Asterism: 4 stars
  • Constellation Family: Ursa Major
Leo Minor constellation

Sextans – The Sextant (Sex)

  • Hemisphere: Southern
  • Size: 314 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 80 and -80 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 10 hours / Declination: 0 degrees
  • Asterism: 4 stars
  • Constellation Family: Hercules
sextans constellation

Ursa Major – The Great Bear (UMa)

  • Hemisphere: Northern
  • Size: 1280 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 90 and -30 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 11 hours / 50 degrees
  • Asterism: 26 stars
  • Constellation Family: Ursa Major
ursa major constellation

Deep Sky Objects best seen or photographed in April

Most deep-sky objects will require you to use equipment such as telescopes or astronomical binoculars. Most notable DSOs have been recorded during the last centuries in various catalogs such as the Messier catalog.

Various celestial entities like galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters make up deep-sky objects. Here are three such objects that offer an optimal viewing experience in April.

M104 – The Sombrero Galaxy

The Sombrero Galaxy (M104) is a bright spiral galaxy in the Virgo constellation, located about 28 million light-years from Earth. Resembling a wide-brimmed hat, it’s known for its bright nucleus, prominent dust lane, and large central bulge. Believed to house a supermassive black hole in its core, it’s a favorite subject among astronomers and is visible with small telescopes.

  • Apparent magnitude: 8
  • Angular diameter: 9′ × 4′
  • RA/DEC: 12h 39m 59s | -11° 37′ 23″
  • Constellation: Between Virgo and Corvus

M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy

The M51, also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, is a classic spiral galaxy located approximately 23 million light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. M51 is interacting with a smaller galaxy, NGC 5195, giving it a distinctive “whirlpool” appearance.

  • Apparent magnitude: 8.4
  • Angular diameter: 111′.2 × 6′.9
  • RA/DEC: 13h 29m 53s | +47° 11′ 43″
  • Constellation: Canes Venatici

NGC 4565 – The Needle Galaxy

NGC 4565, also known as The Needle Galaxy, is an edge-on spiral galaxy located about 40 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices. Its distinctive thin, needle-like appearance is accentuated by a prominent central bulge and a dark dust lane running its length. This unique perspective makes it a popular target for astrophotographers.

  • Apparent magnitude: 10.42
  • Angular diameter: 15.85 arcmin
  • RA/DEC: 12h 36m 20.8s / +25° 59′ 16″
  • Constellation: Coma Berenices

Comets best seen in April

Here’s a list of notable comets you should be able to spot this month (magnitude 10 or less):


  • Constellation: Taurus
  • Magnitude: 9.97
  • Distance: 2.30 AU
  • RA/Dec: 04h 07m 4s / +20° 45′ 03″
  • Visibility: early evenings till about midnight

12P/Pons- Brooks

  • Constellation: Aries
  • Magnitude: 4.47
  • Distance: 1.62 AU
  • RA/Dec: 03h 10m 30s / +13° 34′ 41″
  • Visibility: early evenings till about 10 pm

C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan- ATLAS)

  • Constellation: Virgo
  • Magnitude: 11.19
  • Distance: 1.97 AU
  • RA/Dec: 14h 03m 16s / -03° 11′ 14″
  • Visibility: all night
  • Read our article on C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan- ATLAS)

C/2021 S3 (PanSTARRS)

  • Constellation: Cygnus
  • Magnitude: 8.30
  • Distance: 1.42 AU
  • RA/Dec: 19h 57m 43s / 33° 25′ 55″
  • Visibility: after 9pm

Featured star of the month: Arcturus (Alpha Bootis)

Every month, we’ll spotlight one of the brightest stars in the night sky. These celestial spotlights won’t require any specialized equipment – all you’ll need are your eyes, clear skies, and a bit of curiosity.

Arcturus (Alpha Bootis)

  • Constellation: Böötes
  • Apparent Magnitude: -0.05
  • Absolute Magnitude: -0.30
  • Distance: 36.66 light-years
  • Celestial Coordinates: RA 14h 15m 39.7s | Dec +19° 10′ 56″

How to find this star: Start by spotting the Big Dipper (the question mark-like constellation). Follow the Big Dipper’s handle (the curve of that question mark) and extend it until you reach an orange, bright star. That’ll be Arcturus. 

Arcturus or Alpha Böötes is derived from Greek. It means “Guardian of the Bear”. It is the brightest star in the Böötes constellation, making it the 4th brightest star in our night sky. This 7.1 billion-year-old star has completed the main sequence phase. Once Arcturus has exhausted its helium supply, its outer layers will fade away, leaving behind a white dwarf.

Arcturus is located in Bootes

Arcturus is a red giant star located in Böötes. Image Source: Stellarium

Spotting the ISS in the night sky

The station completes one full orbit around the Earth in 90 minutes (16 times in 24 hours), which means you could potentially see the station several times within a few hours period, provided you are on the night side of the planet and know where to look.

This nifty little widget created by NASA allows you to input the city you live in. It will then calculate and display the next ISS fly over time. You can find out how long the station will be visible and its position when it appears and disappears from the sky.

The International Space Station is fairly easy to locate in the sky. It is brighter than any other satellite in the sky and can sometimes reach an apparent magnitude similar to that of planet Venus. You can also sign up to receive alerts (via email or text) on this page.

Solar / Lunar eclipses

There will be a total lunar eclipse happening this month on 8 Apr 2024, 15:42 UTC / 09:42 CST / 07:42 PST / 10:42 EST.

A total solar eclipse is a celestial event that occurs when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, completely obscuring the Sun’s light and casting a shadow on Earth. During a total solar eclipse, the day becomes night for a short period of time.

Here’s the list of cities that will be experiencing this event:

4Fort WorthTexasUSA
8Little RockArkansasUSA
16BuffaloNew YorkUSA
17RochesterNew YorkUSA

If you live in those areas and plan to observe this rare sky event, please be sure to check out our guide first: How to make DIY solar eclipse glasses (safe methods)

Check out our eclipse calendar for this year.

Meteor Shower of the month: The Lyrids

The Lyrids meteor shower, one of the oldest known, occurs annually from April 16th to 25th, peaking around April 22nd. Originating from the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, it offers 10 to 20 meteors per hour under ideal conditions, with occasional surges up to 100 meteors per hour. Best viewed from a dark location, these fast, bright meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Lyra.

Unfortunately for us, the full moon is happening on the 23rd, just 24 hours after the Lyrids’ peak which means a rather large and bright waxing gibbous moon (98% illuminated) will be visible that night. Strong moonlight can impact meteor visibility.

General Stargazing Tips

  • Plan ahead: Choose a few specific objects you’d like to observe and research where to find them in the night sky. Download a stargazing app or print out star maps to use as a reference.
  • Wait for darkness: Stargazing is best done when it’s completely dark outside, so aim for a time at least an hour after sunset. This will allow you to see more of the stars and planets in the sky.
  • Find a good spot: Look for an area with little light pollution and a clear view of the horizon. Avoid areas with tall buildings or trees that could obstruct your view.
  • Make sure to know the rules for public areas as you may need a permit, to purchase a campsite, etc. Think about who is coming and what you may need/ want such as bathroom access, electricity, distance from the car, etc.
  • Be sure to check the moon phase for that day before you go: A bright full moon can wash out fainter stars and planets and make your night of stargazing difficult.
  • Always plan backup dates: We cannot control or completely predict the weather. It’s one of the frustrating realities of stargazing: cancellations due to weather are common.
  • Set up your equipment: If you’re using a telescope, set it up and let it adjust to the outside temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  • Make sure your tripod is as steady as possible. Even the slightest wobble can cause stars to appear blurred.
  • Bring eyepieces of various focal lengths: Different objects in the night sky are best viewed at different magnifications, so bring a variety of eyepieces for your telescope.
  • Dress warmly: Stargazing can be a cold activity, especially in the winter, so be sure to dress in layers and bring a blanket or warm coat to keep yourself comfortable.
  • Most importantly, enjoy! Let your eyes soak in the beauty of our night sky!

Safety tips when stargazing in nature

I have been stargazing for more than a decade and I understand that the night sky can be inviting and mysterious, but please take safety precautions when spending long hours in the dark. I have enjoyed stargazing sessions from my own backyard as well as remote and dark places.

Therefore, I have a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Bring a buddy/group: Even if you’re an experienced stargazer, it’s never a bad idea to bring someone with you. It can help make the night more enjoyable and also provide safety in case something unexpected happens.
  • Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing that will keep you warm in lower temperatures (especially during winter months) but also be aware of bugs or other critters that can be attracted to light sources.
  • Let someone know where you’ll be going: Give a family member, friend or roommate a general idea of where you’re going and when you’ll be back. What I usually do is share my live GPS location with my family so they know where I am and when I’m on the way home.
  • Have the necessary supplies: Bring plenty of water, snacks and torchlights to create a comfortable environment for stargazing. Also, make sure to bring a first-aid kit in case of any emergencies.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: make sure to stay away from any potential dangers such as cliffs, water bodies or cacti.
  • Stay on established trails or roads: Avoid wandering off into the wilderness and bring a whistle and flashing lights so you can be found if you get lost.
  • Being out in the dark can be disorienting, whilst also being a time when nocturnal animals become active. Make sure you know where you are and have an escape plan should something go wrong.
  • Lastly, remember that you are in nature so always leave the place better than how you found it. With proper preparation and safety tips in mind, stargazers of any skill level can enjoy a star-filled night under the NH sky. Happy Stargazing!

Be sure to check out my guide, if you want to know more about safe stargazing practices.

Useful Stargazing applications

The night sky can be a tricky thing to navigate, but luckily there are some amazing astronomy applications for smartphones that make the process a lot simpler. Some go-to free applications for iOS and Android users include:

Stellarium is a powerful, free app with a live interactive 3D view of the night sky. Simply hold your phone in front of you and the real-time sky above you will appear on your screen. It can also be used to quickly locate stars, constellations and galaxies with a tap of the finger.

Download here: Android – iOS

Clear Outside is designed to help you plan your stargazing sessions. It features a clear sky chart that tells you the local weather conditions and times when it is expected to be the clearest at night.

Download here: Android – iOS

My other monthly Stargazing guides for this year

I have curated an astronomical event guide for each month of the year; I highly recommend that you explore them.

Tom Urbain
I’ve been fascinated by space and astronomy from a very young age. When I’m not watching space-themed documentaries, movies or TV series, I spend most of my free time in my backyard admiring the planets and galaxies with my telescope.
stargazing date

In this article, we’ll go over the basics of creating a romantic and memorable stargazing experience for you and your loved one.

view of the sky over the ocean at dusk
Learn about the definition of dusk and when it occurs, including factors that influence its timing and variations based on location and time of year.
telescope above city and light pollution
Discover the Bortle Scale, a comprehensive rating system that measures light pollution levels in our skies.
observing the night sky with the naked eyes
Planets are a popular observing target among amateur astronomers. Contrary to popular belief, telescopes are not always required to observe them.