Astronomy of the Day for April 5

Astronomy of the Day for April 5

The Moon is in Leo.
The Moon is waxing and in its First Quarter Moon phase.
The First Quarter Moon occurred on the 3rd and the Full Moon will occur on the 11th.
Mercury is in its pre-retrograde shadow (Mercury will be retrograde from April 9-May 3).
Venus is retrograde (Venus is retrograde from March 4-April 15).

 

In the Sky Tonight

Saturn rises shortly after 1 a.m. local daylight time and climbs some 25° high in the south by the time morning twilight begins. The magnitude 0.4 ringed planet lies in the northwestern corner of Sagittarius the Archer, where it appears nearly stationary relative to the background stars. (Its slow eastward motion comes to a halt at 1 a.m. EDT on the 6th.) Take a look at the planet through binoculars and you’ll also see the open star clusters M21 and M23 as well as the spectacular Lagoon (M8) and Trifid (M20 ) nebulae less than 4° to its east. When viewed through a telescope, Saturn shows a 17″-diameter disk surrounded by a stunning ring system that spans 39″ and tilts 26° to our line of sight.

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