Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available; an excellent program (STELLARIUM) is available free at http://www.stellarium.org/.
Venus makes a passage near the Pleiades star cluster (M45), as shown in the following graphic.
Sunday (April 15)
First-quarter Moon at 3:46 p.m. MDT. Use binoculars to catch sight of the Beehive Cluster (M44) a few degrees above the Moon – they will be together in the same field!
Mercury (in Cetus)
Hidden in the Sun’s glare this week.
Venus (in Taurus)
Look for Venus above the western horizon shortly after sunset. The Pleiades star cluster (M45) hangs out near Venus, as shown in the above graphic.
Mars and Saturn (both in Sagittarius)
Both planets rise about 2:00 a.m. and are in good viewing position well before dawn, to the south and above the “teapot” in Sagittarius.
Mars is fairly bright now, but it will be getting brighter over the next few months as it gets to opposition (on a line extending outward from the Sun through the Earth) in late July. At that time Mars will be brighter than at any time since 2003, and almost twice as bright as Jupiter.
Jupiter (in Libra)
Jupiter rises during twilight and dominates the sky (except for Venus) for the rest of the night. It is getting close to opposition (May 8th) and is now about as bright and big as will all year.
Uranus (in Pisces) and Neptune (in Aquarius)
Both planets are now lost in the glare of the Sun.
BRIGHT IRIDIUM FLARES
The following data are based on my location in Pueblo West, Colorado. If you live well outside this area, you should consider checking this information for your location in order to be assured of accurate times, elevations, etc. If you’re unfamiliar with Iridium flares, check out my short article at: http://scaspueblo.com/blog/2017/02/25/iridium-flares/.
Friday (April 27) 4:52:57 a.m. / Magnitude -8.2 / SW / Elevation 58 degrees
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)
These are too numerous to list here! If you’re seriously interested, load the ISS DETECTOR or HEAVENS-ABOVE app on your smart phone or tablet.
Pueblo West, Colorado